Brock & Co.

Playing Sick
Abbott Handerson Thayer (1849 - 1921)
Playing Sick, 1870
Oil on canvas
16 1/2 x 12 1/4 inches
Signed at lower right: A. H. Thayer
Watts style frame
Private Collection, New Hampshire
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1922, Memorial Exhibition of the Work of Abbott Handerson Thayer, no.5
Abbott Thayer was a leading figure painter of the late nineteenth century, best known for his idealized portrayals of female models as madonnas flanked by young children, and as virgins dressed in flowing robes. Thayer is also remembered for his semi-impressionistic landscapes of Mount Monadnock in New Hampshire, and his study of protective coloration in nature.

Thayer was born in 1849 in Boston, the son of a physician. He began his artistic training around 1865 under amateur animal painter Henry D. Morse. Between 1868 and 1874, he studied at the Brooklyn Art School and the National Academy of Design, where he began exhibiting his work around 1868.

In 1875, Thayer went to Paris, where he studied at the Ecole des Beaux Arts under Henri Lehmann and Jean-Leon Gerome. In 1879, he returned to New York City, where he set up his studio, and began to develop the style of painting for which he achieved great popularity in the 1890's.

Throughout the 1880's, Thayer exhibited regularly with the Society of American Artists.  By the 1890's, he enjoyed the patronage of such major collectors as Charles Lang Freer and J. Montgomery Sears. His painting Virgin Enthroned (1891, National Collection of American Art) won high praise at the Columbian Exposition of 1893, and Thayer went on to win awards from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in 1896, and the Paris Exposition in 1900.
After 1901, Thayer settled in Dublin, New Hampshire, where he turned increasingly to the painting of landscapes and to the study of nature.  His depictions of Mount Monadnock, visible from his studio, are notable for their impressionistic tonal qualities, much in contrast to the artist's earlier paintings.