On this day in 1855, the great American impressionist painter Ellen Day Hale was born. Her work reminds me very much of Édouard Manet. And I think of her very much part of the impressionist movement — never moving toward post-impressionistic work, even though she was of the right age for it. I’m more fond of the post-impressionists work, but there is something constantly thrilling about Hale’s work.
Most of her work consists of portraits. And they are very much in keeping with the impressionist style. But other things transcend this. I’m especially impressed with her use of direct lighting. Take for example, the painting Morning News, which she painted at the age of 50. It is just gorgeous. Off canvas to the left is a large window with the morning sun streaming through. A teapot and a flower in a vase is on the shelf behind her. I don’t know if she is waiting to serve breakfast and is taking a moment after. But it is a complete story — a slice of life — a moment when life is worth living.
Happy birthday Ellen Day Hale!