Sunrise: April

Artist: Dwight William Tryon (1849-1925)
Historical period(s)
Oil on wood panel
H x W: 50.9 x 76.3 cm (20 1/16 x 30 1/16 in)
United States
Credit Line
Gift of Charles Lang Freer
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view

Oil painting

landscape, spring, sunrise, United States

From 1899 to 1919
Charles Lang Freer (1854-1919), purchased from the artist, Dwight William Tryon in 1899 [1]

From 1920
Freer Gallery of Art, gift of Charles Lang Freer in 1920 [2]


[1] Purchased from Dwight William Tryon in April 1899 (see Curatorial Remark 2, David Park Curry, in the object record). See also, Curatorial Remark 1 in the object record.

[2] The original deed of Charles Lang Freer's gift was signed in 1906. The collection was received in 1920 upon the completion of the Freer Gallery.

Previous Owner(s) and Custodian(s)

Dwight William Tryon (C.L. Freer source) 1849-1925
Charles Lang Freer 1854-1919


Sunrise: April distills the first blush of many spring mornings into the essence of daybreak. Tryon dated the painting 1897-1899, indicating that he completed it over a long period of time. The product of a cumulative experience of Tryon's beloved South Dartmouth landscape, Sunrise: April would also have been worked upon in the artist's winter studio in New York. Appropriately, considering the subject Charles Lang Freer purchased the painting in April, 1899.

Sunrise: April displays the lightened palette that Tryon adopted after French Impressionist paintings were exhibited in New York in 1886. Color is subdued, yet broken and scattered across the canvas. Layers are semi-transparent and slowly built up; they form a screen between the viewer and the subject matter. The painted surface has a scumbled texture that records the passage of the painter's brush as much as it does his conception of a morning in spring.

Published References
  • Ralph Sessions. The Poetic Vision: American Tonalism. Exh. cat. New York, 2005. fig. 7.
  • Charles Henry Caffin. The Art of Dwight W. Tryon: An Appreciation. New York. p. 71.
  • Linda Merrill. An Ideal Country: Paintings by Dwight William Tryon in the Freer Gallery of Art. Washington and Hanover and London, 1990. cat. 21, pp. 130-131.
  • Thomas Lawton, Linda Merrill. Freer: a legacy of art. Washington and New York, 1993. p. 163, fig. 110.
  • Charles Henry Caffin. American Masters of Painting: Being Brief Appreciations of Some American Painters. Garden City, N.Y. p. 166.
Collection Area(s)
American Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
SI Usage Statement

Usage Conditions Apply

There are restrictions for re-using this image. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page.

The information presented on this website may be revised and updated at any time as ongoing research progresses or as otherwise warranted. Pending any such revisions and updates, information on this site may be incomplete or inaccurate or may contain typographical errors. Neither the Smithsonian nor its regents, officers, employees, or agents make any representations about the accuracy, reliability, completeness, or timeliness of the information on the site. Use this site and the information provided on it subject to your own judgment. The Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery welcome information that would augment or clarify the ownership history of objects in their collections.