This oil on canvas presents a spring landscape under a light blue sky. The centre of the picture is occupied by a dirt road lined with green- and yellow-leaved trees whose sinuous shadows streak the path.

William Henry Clapp

(Montréal 1879 – Oakland, California, 1954)


Le Printemps


between 1908 and 1915

Oil on canvas

72.4 x 91.4 cm

Purchased in 1934

Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec collection, 1934.113

Photo: MNBAQ, Idra Labrie

The Impressionist-style painting Le Printemps [Springtime] depicts a peaceful rural landscape. The centre of the composition is occupied by a dirt road lined by trees with budding foliage in shades of tender green and yellow. Light plays an important role here, as it defines the space and the time of year. The gap at the bend in the road draws the eye toward the sunlit hills in the distance. Le Printemps is a prime example of the influence of Impressionism on Canadian painters, such as Marc-Aurèle de Foy Suzor-Coté.

William Henry Clapp studied at the Art Association of Montreal. From 1904 to 1908, he trained in Paris, where he adopted the techniques of Impressionism. After returning to Montréal, he took part in the Art Association of Montreal’s annual spring shows and other exhibitions. In 1915, he went to live and paint in Cuba. Two years later he returned to Oakland, California, where he had spent most of his youth. Clapp’s command of European painting techniques placed him among the modern artists who earned enviable reputations in Canada and the United States.


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