Wendel returned to Europe in the fall of 1886 to round out his formal studies at the Academie Julian, but the curriculum’s focus on the figure and Wendel’s inclination toward landscape drew him to the village of Giverny the following summer, joining the first wave of Americans to paint there, including John Leslie Breck, Willard Metcalf and Theodore Robinson. He did not have to stray far from the house the young painters shared to find inspiration in the rustic French landscape and soon abandoned the dark realism of his Munich years for the brighter palette and atmospheric light of Impressionism.
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Blossoming Trees, Giverny clearly demonstrates this transition in Wendel’s approach to landscape and embodies the pastoral theme found in the majority of his Giverny paintings. The transcription of the warm springtime atmosphere and the sensitive handling of the flowering branches reveal an artist fully engaged in exploring the possibilities of color, as he expressed in a letter to one of his students in Newport: “There is still a very great charm in the uncommon character of light and color here for me especially (especially in sunlight) that I have not met elsewhere. This iridescent shimmer in the land provokes experiment, and tends to run up large color bills.”
 Letter from Wendel to Anna Hunter, July 17, 1888. Anna Falconnet Hunter, Diaries, Newport Historical Society, Newport, RI, box 98.
By descent through the family of the artist
Bringing to Light: Theodore Wendel, Vose Galleries, Boston, October 19 – December 7, 2019