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Maker(s):Champney, James Wells
Culture:American (1843 - 1903)
Title:Too Rainy for School, Just Enough for Fishing
Date Made:1875
Type:Painting
Materials:oil on panel; frame: wood; gold paint
Place Made:United States; Massachusetts: Deerfield
Measurements:Frame: 12 9/16 in x 8 1/2 in; 31.9 cm x 21.6 cm; Panel: 9 1/8 in x 5 3/4 in; 23.2 cm x 14.6 cm
Accession Number:  HD 2019.21
Credit Line:Museum Purchase with Funds Provided by the Deerfield Collectors Guild
Museum Collection:  Historic Deerfield
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Description:
Oil painting on wooden panel by James Wells Champney (1843-1903) of New York City and Deerfield, Massachusetts, of a young boy fishing, signed in red paint "Champ" 75" in lower left hand corner. Painting: Background depicts blue mountains and green forest trees. Foreground shows young boy wearing suspenders, white collared shirt and blue rimmed hat and brown trousers. The boy holds a fishing rod in his right hand over a pond filled with algae and bordered by overgrown vegetation. It is speculated that the model for the boy could be Champney's son Edouard Frere Champney. Gilt wooden frame (perhaps oak) made by James Wells Champney surrounds the painting and is original to it. Frame is carved with the inscription, " Too rainy for School, just enough for Fishing. / "Champ" " with motifs of frog, fish, fishing pole, oar, and flowers. The phrase may have been a common saying at the time and was used at a later date in a Mark Twain lecture. American genre painter James Wells Champney (1843-1903) was a master of his craft. In 1876 Champney and his family moved into the Williams Homestead, now known as the Creelman House, in Deerfield, Massachusetts where he built his studio. Already by 1887 he was teaching art classes at Smith College where he helped found the Art Gallery. He often taught summer art classes near Deerfield and his reputation as a prolific painter quickly grew in the public eye. Champney took immense interest in the colonial history of the town and was a life member of the Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association and even designed the organization’s seal.

Label Text:
The artist James Wells Champney frequently painted children as his subject matter, appearing to delight in their activities, games, and innocence. In this small painting, the boy holds a fishing rod in his right hand near a pond filled with algae and bordered by overgrown vegetation. The model for the boy is likely Champney's son Frère. Champney also carved the whimsical wooden frame embellished with a frog, fish, fishing pole, oar, and flowers plus the inscription, " Too rainy for School, just enough for Fishing." The phrase may have been a common saying at the time and was later used by Mark Twain in a lecture.

Tags:
fishing; children

Link to share this object record:
https://museums.fivecolleges.edu/detail.php?t=objects&type=ext&id_number=HD+2019.21

Research on objects in the collections, including provenance, is ongoing and may be incomplete. If you have additional information or would like to learn more about a particular object, please email fc-museums-web@fivecolleges.edu.

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