Charles Warren Eaton was born in 1857 in Albany, New York.
He was raised by his father and older sister after his mother died when he was a child. At the age of 22 Eaton moved to New York City. In New York Eaton worked as a dry goods clerk to support himself and attended the Art Students League and the National Academy of Design on nights and weekends. In 1882 Eaton began to exhibit at the National Academy of design. His work reflected an interest in French Barbizon painting which was popular with collectors at the time.
In 1886 Eaton travelled to Europe visiting France, Belgium, Holland and England.
On his return to America Eaton moved to Bloomfield, New Jersey. It is here the artist fully embraced the tonalist style for his work, eschewing an impressionist sense of color and key for the majority of his career.
Between 1880 and 1910 the American tonalist movement was a departure from the Hudson River School and its highly rendered scenes of grandeur. Tonalism was more concerned with quieter places, where the atmosphere was the dominant factor. Artists sought to capture more subtle, muted effects of color while maintaining a dynamic range of value between light and shadow. Tonalism simplified forms and focused on atmospheric effects such as twilight, mist and moonlight to create a less representational and more poetic depiction of the landscape.
After 1910 Eaton used pine trees extensively as a motif in his paintings. These pictures secured the artists career. His paintings were awarded many medals including a gold medal at the Paris Salon de Artistes in 1906 for Gathering Mists. Eaton also garnered awards in America from the Salmagundi Club, The Philadelphia Art Club and the National Academy of Design. After 1910 Eaton abandoned Tonalism for a more impressionist style with a brighter palette. He continued to travel and paint making yearly trips to Italy.
Charles Warren Eaton died at the age of 80 in 1937.
BibliographyCharles Warren Eaton an American Tonalist Rediscovered
Charles Teaze Clark
Spanierman Gallery, LLC