Game of Checkers
Horace Boylston Dummer,
lived from 1878 to 1945, near
Artist Horace Dummer
- Checkers artist Horace Dummer, an American
artist was a painter and illustrator, who
depicted his diverse subject matter in
the Impressionistic style during his earlier
years and then in the mode of Realism.
- Horace Dummer spent his life in Massachusetts
and derived his artistic inspiration from
genre scenes, landscapes and nature in
the surrounding environments and towns.
- Through his academic study in art at
the Eric Pape School of Art and the Art
Students League in Woodstock, New York,
Dummer’s style was greatly influenced
by the brushwork and Impressionism of his
teacher, John Carlson.
- Artist Horace Dummer held the position
of staff artist at the Boston Post for
many years and was also illustrator for
The Youth's Companion, which was a national
weekly children’s magazine.
- At first, Boylston enjoyed his artistic
activity in the Provincetown art colony
but he soon became discouraged because
he felt that it had become too crowded.
- Dummer created his motifs throughout his artistic career
with lively brushstrokes, well developed plain air effects
and bold, broken colors.
- In his oil painting, Checkers Players,
the checkers artist represented a simple,
every day motif of a checkers game between
two friends and he situated on player in
a wooden chair and seated the other on
an old wooden barrel; between the checkers
players on their knees artist Horace Dummer
painted a wooden board that held the checkerboard
with the game in progress.
- The realistic treatment of the theme
displayed a setting that could be a workshop,
a cabin or an old kitchen and artist Dummer’s
detailing and warm tones created a rustic,
cozy atmosphere that fit these two old timers.
- The Checkers Players also depicted by
use of broad strokes of color and sound
details the natural postures of the players
at the checkerboard such as the bearded
figure ready to move his checker piece
and it reflected the contemplative and
pensive mood of each friend.
- Dummer highlighted the genre scene with
afternoon sunlight coming in and caressing
the checkers players from the right, thus
creating natural shadows and a three dimensionality
within the game of checkers composition.
- The vivid scene was painted to allow the viewer to
become a third person in the room, the spectator watching
the checkers game and waiting to see the outcome.
- Boylston believed that drawing was still
the foundation of painting and so he would ‘draw’ with
his paints in his plain air artwork depicting
the mood, lighting and natural setting
within the framework of his Impressionist
or Realist artistic mode of expression.
- His renditions of rural landscapes and
Cape Cod seascapes were inspired and his
wildlife motifs easily displayed how he ‘captured’ the
animals and their natural habitat in the
- In 1921, artist Horace Dummer and his
wife moved from Provincetown to Rockport
and soon became known as a leading ‘Rockport
Realist’ and then the artist
became founding member of the Rockport
Art Association; however, he was also involved
in the North Shore Arts Association between
1926 and 1945 as well as the Pennsylvania
Academy of the Fine Arts.
- As he approached his winter years, Boylston recognized
the fact that the style of art he loved was quickly being
replaced by Abstract Expressionism and other surrealistic
modes of art that was popular in New York; however, he remained
true to his art and the circle of Rockport Realists continued to
be inspired by the beauty of nature around them and by the simple,
picturesque views of old worn out docks, rock quarries and the activity
witnessed in town festivals.
- Dummer died suddenly towards the end
of 1945 and was survived by his wife and
daughter, but he left behind a legacy of
inspired motifs of an era gone by.
- Earlier that year, before artist Horace Dummer’s
own passing, his art teacher, John Carlson,
died in New York and the town of Rockport
purchased the venerable fish shack known
as Motif No. 1, as many feared that the
favorite haunt of local painters might
otherwise be torn down and it remained
as a memorial to numerous artists who had
favored the locale artist.
A Game of Draughts (Checkers, 1891)
A Game of Draughts (Checkers, 1892)