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The Ghost Story, 1887. Creator: Walter McEwen (American, 1860-1943)

The Ghost Story, 1887. Creator: Walter McEwen (American, 1860-1943)

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The Ghost Story, 1887. Creator: Walter McEwen (American, 1860-1943)

The Ghost Story, 1887. This picture depicts a prosperous peasants dwelling, where the women of the house have gathered to spin and prepare food. McEwen showed the narration of a ghost story at its most dramatic moment--all eyes are fixed on the storyteller, the spinning wheels are idle, the listeners lean toward her in fascination, and the little girl clutches her doll in fear. When this work was exhibited at the Paris Salon in 1888 and at the 1893 Chicago Worlds Columbian Exposition, it won praise for both its technical approach and for capturing the essential qualities of the Dutch people. Walter McEwen settled in Holland around 1883, setting up a studio in the village of Hattem. At this time, Holland had a growing reputation among foreign artists, and a large number of American painters had moved there in order to observe local customs, scenery, and costumes, and to study 17th-century Dutch painting. Many of these Americans looked to the work of the German painters in Holland and mimicked their brighter palette, clear forms, and bright interiors, which were often achieved by painting a scene in front of a window, as McEwen did here

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Media ID 19644396

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The Ghost Story, 1887

by Walter McEwen is a captivating snapshot of a moment frozen in time. The print transports us to a prosperous peasants' dwelling, where the women of the house have gathered for an evening of spinning and food preparation. McEwen skillfully captures the essence of this scene at its most dramatic point - all eyes are fixed on the storyteller, hanging onto her every word. The spinning wheels lie idle as the listeners lean forward in fascination, completely engrossed in the tale being woven before them. In this enchanting composition, one cannot help but notice the little girl clutching her doll tightly, her face etched with fear. It is through her innocent expression that we feel drawn into this ghostly narrative, our own imaginations running wild with anticipation. McEwen's work garnered well-deserved praise when it was exhibited at both the Paris Salon in 1888 and later at the 1893 Chicago Worlds Columbian Exposition. Not only did he showcase his technical prowess through his meticulous attention to detail, but he also managed to capture the very essence of Dutch culture and people. Having settled in Holland himself around 1883, McEwen immersed himself fully into understanding local customs and traditions. Like many American painters during that time period, he sought inspiration from studying 17th-century Dutch painting techniques while incorporating elements from German painters residing there as well. "The Ghost Story" stands as a testament to McEwen's ability to transport viewers back in time while capturing their hearts with its rich storytelling ambiance.

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