Game of Checkers Artist
Harold Mathews Brett
Artist Harold Brett
from 1880 to 1955 from Middleboro, Massachusetts.
"Checkers Game" painting
by artist Harold Brett.
- Harold Brett was a landscape and portrait
painter as well as illustrator for books
- Artist Harold Brett favored ink drawings,
oil and watercolor paintings and mixed
multi-media in his illustrations and is
known for his illustrations and paintings
of nostalgic New England scenes.
- Game of checkers artist Harold Mathews
Brett grew up in Brookline, Massachusetts,
and studied art at the School of the Museum
of Fine Arts in Boston under Philip Hale
and Frank Benson and then moved to New
York to study at the Art Students League
with Walter Appleton Clark, H. Siddons
Mowbray and Kenyon Cox.
- In 1906, after Harold Brett had acquired
his basic training, Brett journeyed to
Wilmington, Delaware, to study further
under the famous illustrator Howard Pyle
and soon created illustrations for the
magazine, Harpers Weekly, as well as other
- Though Harold Brett favored illustration,
he also painted simple genre scenes centered
around daily human activity such as in
the painting ‘Checkers Game’,
which realistically depicted a moment in
time where a group of men were heavily
involved in a good game of checkers at
the checkerboard. Checkers game and others
found in a country store or warehouse setting.
- The checkers players were depicted in a conversation
over the next checkers move and although Brett did paint
portraits, his characters in this every day scene bore a cartoon look.
- With time he moved to Chatham on Cape
Cod and for several years was associated
with the Fenway School of Illustration
in Boston and while living in New England,
Brett worked primarily as an illustrator,
creating unique scenes and images for Colliers,
Ladies Home Journal and Country Gentleman.
- Artist Harold Brett also designed illustrations
for Lucretia Hales,'The
Peterkin Papers' and several books by the Cape author, Joseph
- As the artist particularly liked to
create New England subjects with an historical
setting, several of his works reflected
this simple, nostalgic theme in a realistic,
- Brett eventually specialized in portraiture
and he painted a series of portraits of
Cape Cod sea captains, who were depicted
in a simple, straightforward manner.
- It would appear that his art represented
the way he saw his subjects and the manner
in which he’d like the rest of the
world to visualize them, for his male characters
were usually seen as composed and serious,
and the woman were viewed as genteel and charming.
- Their images evoked a nostalgic feeling
for a familiar, yet different, less complex
period in history.
- Brett's artistic renderings of local
Cape scenes held the greatest appeal due
to the simplicity and quaintness of the
paintings and although they were created
during the 1930’s and 1940’s,
they did not reflect the influence of Impressionism
that was popular in this period.
- Checkers artist John Brett's illustrations
were definitely the most moving and effective
of his art and the viewer could easily
identify with the affection that he recalled
a specific place and time; moreover, one
could imagine the artist lingering in front
of his seascape or landscape scenes, absorbing
the charm of that moment in time.