Henry Ward Ranger, The Clearing, 1908
Henry Ward Ranger devoted his career to depicting the New England landscape in a conventional and naturalistic manner. He specialized in depicting wooded forest interiors, usually lush spring or golden autumn scenes, in which glimmering light filtered through the treetops.
A conservative who valued traditional methods, technical ability, and craftsmanship, his technique was noteworthy for its rich color and thick, textured paint. Fusing his knowledge of European art with an interest in American subjects, Ranger created distinct landscape paintings that conveyed a deep sense of history and an image of a pastoral way of life that was vanishing as America changed from an agrarian to an industrial society.
In The Clearing, Ranger depicts a small section of forest. Here, sun dappled leaves dot the slender trees. Utilizing loose brushstrokes to achieve a soft haziness, Ranger conveys an intimate connection to nature.
The exhibit “Visions of American Life: Paintings from the Manoogian Collection, 1850-1940” is on loan from Detroit Institute of Art from April 5 – May 23.