Augustus Koopman (1800 - 1800)
Beach Scene, 1912
Oil on canvas
26 x 32 inches
Signed and dated at lower right: Augustus Koopman / 1912
Carrig-Rohane style frame
Jacob Kiefer Newman, New York, New York
Melvin Spencer Newman, Columbus, Ohio, his son, by gift, 1940s
By descent in the family, until 2006
Though he spent much of his career abroad, Koopman maintained a strong artistic presence on American shores, with a host of solo gallery and museum exhibitions as well as prestigious portrait commissions to his credit.
Born in Charlotte, North Carolina, Koopman was one of an elite group of American art students admitted to the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris. After his course of study, he remained in Europe, winning medals and honors on both sides of the Atlantic, including the major international expositions at Paris (1900), Buffalo (1901), and St. Louis (1904). The artist spent his winters in Paris, traveling during the warmer months to paint in picturesque locales in France, Belgium, and Holland popular with expatriate American artists around the turn of the century.
Koopman’s style is characterized by a self-assured use of paint in which -- as one critic put it -- “the trials of detail have been swept aside, and the large masses of the composition laid in boldly and freely” [“Art Notes,” Evening Post (New York), March 29, 1913, p. 9]. In the present work, Koopman depicts a summer day at a fashionable beach in Brittany, France using typically exuberant brushwork with rich impasto. The puffy clouds and tawny sand form a backdrop to children playing in tidal pools and a curving line of pastel colored tents.
“[Koopman has] a love for that which is true, and tells his story with a vital, impetuous brush that stamps him as a man of more than ordinary resources.” [“The Koopman Exhibit,” Detroit Saturday Night, March 9, 1907].