Frederick Childe Hassam (b. October 17, 1859, Dorchester, Boston, Massachusetts – d. August 27, 1935, East Hampton, New York) was an American Impressionist painter.
Hassam (pronounced HASS'm) (known to all as Childe, pronounced like child) left high school without graduating, and ended up working for a wood engraver. He attended drawing classes at the Lowell Institute, a division of MIT, and was a member of the Boston Art Club. He began his artistic career as an illustrator and watercolorist.
By 1882, Hassam was exhibiting publicly and had his first solo exhibition, of watercolors, at the Williams and Everett Gallery in Boston. The following year, his friend Celia Thaxter convinced him to drop his first name and thereafter was known simply as "Childe Hassam".
Having had little formal art training previously, Hassam went to Paris in 1886 to study figure drawing and painting at the Académie Julian. He studied under Gustave Boulanger and Jules Joseph Lefebvre.
However, he later considered the education he received there "superfluous." What had a greater influence on Hassam's work was the art he was exposed to in the city's museums and galleries, especially the works of the Impressionists.
Hassam returned to America and settled in New York City in 1889. He soon become close friends with fellow artists J. Alden Weir and John Henry Twachtman, whom he met through the American Watercolor Society. Hassam enthusiastically painted the genteel urban atmosphere he discovered in New York, which he greatly preferred to Paris.
During his time in New York, Hassam made summer painting excursions to Thaxter's home on Appledore Island, Maine, the largest of the Isles of Shoals; and to Gloucester, Massachusetts; Cos Cob, Connecticut; and Old Lyme, Connecticut. He visited Xavier Martinez in 1914 in his Piedmont gallery to view Martinez' recent paintings of the Arizona desert.
Hassam is famous for his series of 22 flag paintings, which he began in 1916, when he was inspired by a "Preparedness Parade" (for World War I) held on Fifth Avenue in New York. Monet, among other French artists, had also painted flag-themed works, but Hassam's have a different, distinctly American character. They all depict Fifth Aveue, Fifty-Seventh Street, or streets near Hassam's gallery at the time, which was on West Fifty-Seventh Street. The Metropolitan Museum, the New-York Historical Society and the National Gallery of Art all own a Hassam flag painting.
In 1919, he purchased a home in East Hampton, New York. He died there, aged 75.
He was a member of the Ten American Painters group, which seceded from the Society of American Artists in 1898.