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Charles Warren Eaton

Artwork Details

Charles Warren Eaton
oil on canvas
16 5/16 x 22 3/8 in. (41.3 x 56.7 cm)
Gift of Mr. Raymond C. Smith


March 28 2009
Like the other Tonalist painters, such as Dwight William Tryon, also on view in this gallery, Eaton rejected the highly detailed Hudson River school style and its grand landscapes in favor of intimate and subjective views of nature. He painted landscapes almost exclusively, many of which, like Twilight, depict a marshy meadow with a grouping of trees, backlit by the setting sun and devoid of the presence of humans or animals. This painting is dominated by dark, neutral hues in grays, browns, and blues, and Eaton’s atmospheric rendering of the scene has imbued it with a sense of wistfulness or nostalgia. The title itself, Twilight, also the title of the Tryon in this gallery and of many other nineteenth-century landscapes—references the moment captured in the painting, a time when the day is approaching its end and darkness is beginning. Perhaps this was meant to encourage a state of reverie and nostalgic reflection on the past at a moment when the country was swiftly undergoing enormous changes and the settling and building up of vast areas of land left many with a longing for unspoiled nature.

Subject Matter:

Typical of many of Eaton’s landscape paintings, “Twilight” depicts a marshy meadow with a grouping of trees executed in a Tonalist manner. Dominated by dark, neutral hues in grays, browns and blues, Eaton depicts the landscape with a sense of atmosphere or mist giving the work on an overall tone of wistfulness or nostalgia. Many 19th century American artists, like Eaton, felt a sense of longing for nature untouched by the hand of man, during a time when the Industrial Revolution brought about the clearing of enormous areas of land. The title itself, “Twilight,” is an allusion to the time when something is declining or approaching its end and darkness begins.

Physical Description:

Landscape painting with green marshy field in foreground, a grouping of trees in the middle ground on right side of canvas, and blue sky with patches of soft clouds above.

Usage Rights:

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