Flags on the Waldorf, 1916
Oil on canvas
Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Fort Worth, Texas
Between 1916 and 1919, Childe Hassam painted more than thirty works collectively known as the Avenue of the Allies paintings. The name referred to the official occasions during World War I when Allied flags flew along New York's Fifth Avenue in support of the war effort. This painting, however, predates America's entry into the war and may depict the commemorative events held in 1916 marking the one-year anniversary of Germany's sinking of the Lusitania on May 7, 1915. The building at right is the original Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, which was demolished in 1929 to make way for the Empire State Building.
When Childe Hassam (1859–1935) began painting urban street scenes in the 1880s, early in his career, he was one of the few American artists drawn to such a subject. He first studied and exhibited in his native Boston, but in 1886 he went to Paris and discovered the French impressionist painters. Back in New York City in 1890, he allied himself with the most progressive artists of the day. He embraced open-air painting and traveled to other light-filled picturesque spots, including Old Lyme and Cos Cob in Connecticut and East Hampton on Long Island, where he build a home in 1903. By the time of his death in 1935, Hassam's impressionist style was no longer modern, but during his long and illustrious career, he received nearly every honor awarded an American artist on both sides of the Atlantic.