John J. Enneking settled in Boston’s suburb of Hyde Park in 1876, and became one of Boston’s best-known landscape artists. Painted in 1890, The Old Homestead in Spring – Sumner House, Hyde Park depicts the River Street homestead of Revolutionary War General William Sumner, located not too far from Enneking’s own home at 17 Webster Street.
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Sumner passed away in 1836, although his family’s involvement in the milling industry of Hyde Park has had a lasting effect on the town, and Sumner Streets can be found throughout the area. Enneking’s depiction of the house in springtime illustrates the light, bright, impressionist palette with which he varied his darker, tonal works and, as with the area of North Newry, Maine, where Enneking had a summer studio after 1885, the artist was strongly tied to his local surroundings. He was a devoted conservationist and acted as chairman of the Park Board during the end of his career, helping to protect the salt water marshes of the Neponset River, as well as areas of the Stony Brook Reservation and Boston’s Fenway. In 1967, Enneking’s preservation efforts were rewarded when State Representative Michael Feeney renamed a section of the Turtle Pond Parkway in Hyde Park the Enneking Parkway.
Private collection, Weston, Massachusetts
With Vose Galleries, Boston, inventory no. 27203, November 1982
To private collection, Vero Beach, Florida, December 1982 to present
(top stretcher in pencil) [149 or #49] The Old Homestead in Spring