Oil. 10in x 14in. Date Unkown
Gift of Susan & Harry Price in memory of Miriam Price
Hattie Saussy was born into a prominent Savannah family in the late 19th century and steeped in Southern Art from a young age. She demonstrated a precocious interest in the latter early on. Her parents, noticing this, subsequently acquired the services of several area artists as tutors for young Hattie. These early experiences with art and artists engendered considerable passion in Saussy, and this passion built up during her formative years never waned - she remained a passionate artist and arts advocate throughout her life. Saussy sought out quality experiences with other artists and art educators with great dedication, and her well-heeled background provided resources to make the most of this impulse. She studied in Savannah, Virginia, New York, Paris, Venice, and Munich. But although her family footed the bill for her to travel to these centers of culture, her talent and passion are what opened doors into these cities’ schools of art and private studios.
The oldest public museum in the Southeast, the Telfair, was founded just seven years before Hattie Saussy’s birth. By the time she reached adolescence, it had amassed a considerable holding of French Impressionist works. Although no documentary evidence places Saussy within the Telfair during her early life, her mature work has often been stylistically compared to French Impressionism, and even called ‘American Impressionism’, which leads one to wonder whether the Telfair’s collection and its proximity to Saussy had a determinative influence on her artistic development. Compositionally, Lighthouse is typical of much of the artist’s mature work.
Saussy’s most well known works are landscapes, most of which depict a wide stretch of land which recedes into deep implied space. A few small, silhouetted trees peeking over the horizon create this effect in Lighthouse, albeit more subtly than in many of Saussy’s works. Lighthouse differs from other landscapes of Saussy’s both in that it doesn’t feature a large foreground figure to deepen the implied spatial recession, and that it is more economically composed. The artist often painted lush flower-bushes, trees, or rural artifacts into the foregrounds of her works, but left these out of Lighthouse in favor of a solid, unbroken expanse of field and sky. The absence of foreground objects accentuates the brushwork in these areas, and in them the delicacy and finesse of a master.
SAM is funded in part by The Arts Partnership of Greater Spartanburg and its donors, the County and City of Spartanburg, and the South Carolina Arts Commission which receives support from The National Endowment for the Arts.