Omer Lassonde (American, 1903-1980) oil on canvas Samoan landscape titled AVELE, depicting a dark-skinned figure in the doorway of a thatched hut, surrounded by vegetation. Signed "Omer Lassonde" lower right in lavender paint and titled en verso. Housed in a whitewashed molded frame. Sight – 19" H x 15 1/2" W. Framed – 25" H x 21" W. Early/mid 20th century. Biography: Omer Lassonde was a New Hampshire-born artist with ties to Tennessee. Lassonde was schooled at Manchester and Philadelphia, while painting at Monhegan and Gloucester with some of the great colorists of the 1920s. At the Manchester Institute of Arts and Science (now the NH Institute of Art) he learned the design theories of Denman Ross and Albert Munsell's color theory. He also attended the Hugh Breckenridge School of Color, East Gloucester, Massachussets. While at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, he won 13 prizes in 3 years, and became friends with Nashville artist Charles Cagle. His earliest solo exhibits, besides the regular class competitions at school, were in his hometown, Monhegan, NH and Nashville, Tennessee, where he exhibited 12 paintings at the Tennessee State Fair in 1929. Lassonde is best known for the year 1930, which he spent painting the landscape and native life of West Samoa. Upon his return these works earned him his successful first exhibitions in New York and Boston in 1931 and 1932. Throughout the 1930s, Lassonde visited friends in Pennsylvania and Nashville, Tennessee, where he painted portraits, landscapes, and scenes of rural African-American life. Several were exhibited in Nashville, Columbia, TN, and Bowling Green, Kentucky. He also painted in Europe, and in later life, in North Africa. In the post-war years he became a more outspoken advocate for artistic modernism, painting in a series of new styles, but always remaining a committed colorist. In 1947 Benjamin C. Bradlee, later editor of the Washington Post, called "Lassonde, One of America's Great Painters" and wrote that he had "done more than any man living to put New Hampshire on the map artistically". In 1934 he exhibited at the Grand Salon of Paris, Paris, France and was elected to Societ Des Artists Francais. Source: Richard Candee, Professor Emeritus, Boston University; and President of the Portsmouth, New Hampshire Historical Society. He and Robert S. Chase were co-creators of the exhibit, "Omer T. Lassonde, Versatile Colorist", held at the Historical Society April 5-May 31, 2013. (source: American Eagle Fine Art). CONDITION: Good condition. Canvas pliant with slight buckling and light grime; a couple of small areas of flaking/paint wear lower left quadrant on tree trunk. 1" scratch upper right side. Some abrasions to frame.
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