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Dwight William Tryon

Dwight William Tryon and Charles Lang Freer met in 1889. The two quickly developed not only a friendship but also a mutual regard for the other's artistic taste and aesthetic philosophy. Early in their acquaintance, Freer asked for Tryon's advice in decorating his new Detroit home, and the artist helped create a harmonious setting for art and living. At the same time, Tryon admired Freer and his collecting taste, stating that his patron was "better than any painter" in his discriminating eye for beauty. Freer eventually collected more than seventy examples of Tryon's work, stating that they bring "much joy" to those who possess them.

Having spent his early years in Hartford, Connecticut, Tryon traveled to Europe in 1876 to study art; he received formal training in Paris. There he was influenced by the Barbizon school, especially the work of Charles Francois Daubigny. During his visits to Venice, London, and Dordrecht, Tryon developed an affinity for the sea and countryside, which became enduring subjects in his mature work.

Tryon returned to the United States in 1881 and established a studio in New York City and a summer home in South Dartmouth, Massachusetts. Although he occasionally made studies for paintings during his New England sojourns, he spent the majority of his time outdoors, fishing and sailing. The sea, the woods, and the changing seasons became Tryon's favorite motifs, which he recollected and depicted in countless idealized variations during winter months in New York.

Tryon's interest in the landscape reflects his personal love of nature. But his mastery of color and interest in the aesthetic, rather than objective, qualities of a scene link him to other tonalist artists, such as George Inness and Thomas Wilmer Dewing. Tryon said he desired to "penetrate the surface" and create images of an "ideal county," one that filtered external reality through the artist's subjective vision.