Robert Vonnoh was an American impressionist born in Hartford, Connecticut who was known for landscape paintings and portraits. Notable for the diversity of his painting style, his work includes academic portraits, Millet-like scenes of peasant life, and Monet-inspired nature scenes. His early career as a painter began after he was inspired by an 1883 exhibition in Boston of works by European impressionists.
Frosty Morning displays Vonnoh’s mature impressionist style; his brushstrokes are more varied and the tonality is more subtle than in his earlier landscapes. The style and the composition is not clearly copied from another artist, but is uniquely his own. It is also one of Vonnoh’s many landscapes that studies weather conditions and time of day. The blue tones of the grass indicate that frost has settled overnight, and the hazy nature of the atmosphere and the faint moon hint at the earliness of the hour.
This major work is a significant addition to WCMA’s collection of American Impressionist painting. David Jaffe helped arrange for this work to come to WCMA from Danielle and Michael Barger in memory of her grandparents Gisele and Harold Jaffe. At the same time he also donated a Whistler print in honor of his father Harold Jaffe and arranged for the donation of an additional painting by George Smillie from Joan Mooney in honor of Gisele Jaffe.