John Joseph Enneking


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Painter. Known primarily for New England landscapes, he also painted still lifes, figure studies, and European views. His early work reflected Hudson River School realism, but exposure to contemporary French work reoriented his interests toward form, color, and the expression of mood. Reflecting Barbizon painters' intimate pastoralism, by the 1880s he had achieved a painterly, unrhetorical approach to spatially limited views. He became known for slightly melancholy autumnal sunsets alight with nuanced color. Some works, particularly among those dating late in his career, demonstrate an impressionist dissolution of form into small strokes of color, often in lustrous hues. A native of the western Ohio village of Minster, he grew up on a farm. He received some instruction in drawing in Cincinnati after moving there in 1856. In 1861 he joined the Union Army. Wounded in the Civil War, he returned to Cincinnati to recuperate. In 1864 he walked to New York before continuing on to Boston. There he studied lithography and industrial drawing but did not work full time as an artist until the late 1860s. In 1872 he departed for Europe, where he traveled widely during four years abroad. He studied at the academy in Munich for six months and spent three months painting in Venice before taking up residence in Paris for three years. There he studied with the academic realist Léon Bonnat, but his contacts with Barbizon artists had more lasting effect. He sought criticism from Charles-Francois Daubigny and became acquainted with Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot and Jean-François Millet. After two years at home, in 1878 he again returned to Europe to revisit Paris and spend six months in the Netherlands. In 1880 he purchased a summer home in North Newry, Maine. Many subsequent paintings depict the nearby White Mountains across the New Hampshire border or Maine locations ranging to the Atlantic shore. In 1903 he made a final visit to Paris. He died in the Boston suburb of Hyde Park, where he had made his home since the 1860s.

Subjects: Art.

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