Hamilton Easter Field


founded the Ogunquit School of Painting and Sculpture, at Perkins Cove in Ogunquit, Maine, in 1911, where he encouraged his students to study the roots of Americathrough its folk arts and colonial painting. Field was celebrated as a proponent of American Modernism. His students included Lloyd Goodrich (1897–1987), YasuoKuniyoshi (c. 1889–1953), Robert Laurent (1890–1970), and Niles Spencer (1893–1952). He was also closely associated with Bernard Karfiol (1886–1952) andWilliam Zorach (1889–1966), and influenced Marsden Hartley (1877–1943). These artists were struck by the modern look of the American weathervanes, decoys,folk paintings, hooked rugs, and pottery that decorated their cabins in Ogunquito. Some of them became folk art collectors, and others incorporated aspects of American folk art into their art. For example, Kuniyoshi utilized a distinct folk art style with simplified modeling and unusual perspectives.Field was the son of two prominent Quakers, Aaron Field (1829–1897) and Lydia Seaman Haviland (1838–1918); the family lived in Brooklyn. Field attended theBrooklyn Friends’ School, matriculated at the Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute, and studied at the Columbia School of Mines. After a short enrollment at HarvardUniversity, he spent fifteen years traveling in Europe, studying and collecting art. About 1912 or 1913, he opened Ardsley Studio in his Brooklyn residence to exhibitthe work of American Modernists, and, in 1916, he opened the Ardsley School of Modern Art. Field was both the art critic and later the art editor for the
Brooklyn Daily Eagle,
from 1919 to 1922; served briefly as both contributor and editor of the periodical
Arts and Decoration,
from 1919 to 1920; and, in 1920, he started hisown magazine,
The Arts,
serving as editor and publisher, until his death at forty-nine years of age. Field’s interest in American folk art influenced a generation of NewYork Modernists, and contributed to its acceptance as a form of artistic expression in the first quarter of the twentieth century.
See also
Holger Cahill; Decoys, Wildfowl; Edith Gregor Halpert; Hooked Rugs; Painting, American Folk; Pottery, Folk; Weathervanes
Bolger, Doreen. “Hamilton Easter Field and His Contribution to American Modernism.”
The American Art Journal,
vol. 20, no. 2 (1988): 79–107.Quimby, Ian M.G., and Scott T.Swank, eds.
Perspectives in Ameri-can Folk Art.
New York, 1980.Vlach, John Michael, and Simon J.Bronner, eds.
Folk Art and Art Worlds.
Ann Arbor, Mich., 1986.