Saturday, June 25, 2022

Dwight William Tryon

Early Morning in Autumn, oil

Dwight William Tryon


Not too long ago I was very kindly given a book by a fellow artist. I just finished reading it and I thought I would put together a few words about it.

The book is:
"An Ideal Country – Paintings by Dwight William Tryon in the Freer Gallery of Art"
by Linda Merrill

I was aware of Tryon's work from a few books I have. I was also recently at the Freer and saw one of his paintings there. (They have a LOT but only one was on display.)

His later work is pretty recognizable with a very characteristic way of depicting his trees.
I have a lot of art books, but some are really just for the photos. Many are not that readable, and can be dry. This one was written quite well, and there are many passages that struck me. It was fascinating to learn a bit about Tryon's thinking on art and process, and I started taking notes as I read.

Central Park: Moonlight, pastel

Here are some of the most stimulating ideas I pulled out of the book:

...the “work any real artist goes through before he can become a power is much more than the equivalent of any college course”
(p. 26)

On Tryon’s quitting a bookstore job to become a full-time artist:

“Here you are making an honest and comfortable living and like a fool you throw it up for a career in art, which of all things in this world is the most fickle. You will probably starve to death in a garret.” 
 – Samuel Clemens
(p. 28)

“Only to the persistent lover and close companion does nature reveal her beauty… only to one who no longer looks upon her as a stranger does she yield the secret of her charm.”
(p. 44)

Twilight – Autumn, oil

“It seems to me every country has a soul as well as a body, and this soul is what is really worth giving expression to in Art.”

“Keep yourself in the habit of drawing from memory. The value of memory-sketches lies in the fact that so much is forgotten.”
from “W.M. Hunt’s Talks on Art” (underlining by Tryon)

Margin notation by Tryon by above: “The less imitation the more suggestion and hence more poetry.”

April Morning, oil

Night – A Landscape, pastel