It’s hard to describe how the epitome of subtlety can also generate excitement; it doesn’t make sense. Dwight Tryon’s later work does exactly that to me. From the peace and solitude of his home in South Dartmouth, Massachusetts, where he lived for forty years, Tryon evolved an ever more personal, more introspective, and more carefully observed rendering of the same fields and farmlands year after year, achieving a gradually deeper understanding of every minute feature of the landscape. Tryon’s European study exposed him mostly to Barbizon teachers and influences, which dominated his work upon return to the United States around 1881. Ever so gradually, his palette lightened, his brushwork became “feathery,” yet still a tight, conservative form of broken color, (and his signature landscape composition emerged.) It’s his work from the 1910 period onward that I find poetic, contemplative, and soothing, yet laced with brilliant, tiny shots of color that are simply exciting. Tryon clearly knew himself very well, creating the perfect cocoon, enabling his kind of creative output: he taught art at Smith College from 1885 to 1923, found the desired rural setting for his home, and cultivated a lifelong friend and patron in Charles Lang Freer. In correspondence with Freer, Tryon states that the summer of 1916 in New England “had been a record-breaker for beauty,” and that his work from that summer was the most “vibrant painting and translucent as stained glass.” This painting is dated 1916, and with the rare image of the farmer and horse plowing the field is absolutely the artist’s best. This was an exceptionally fortuitous purchase in 1974 from Ken Lux, and like so many acquisitions, made with little appreciation at the time of how important the painting is.