Carriage Parade is an example of the Impressionist style Childe Hassam developed while in Paris from 1886 to 1889. It displays the light palette, broken color, and modern subject matter associated with the work of his French counterparts. To achieve natural light and color effects, he followed their practice of painting outdoors. The life and movement of the streets fascinated him, so he worked from cabs, setting up his canvas on the seat before him.
In Carriage Parade, there are myriad touches of blue, yellow, plum, red-orange, and green, representing the artist’s own vision and adding energy to the scene. For this painting, Hassam gazed down one of the broad avenues-perhaps the famous Champs-Elysees-that leads to the Arc d’Etoile, seen faintly in the distance.
Hassam’s vigorous brushwork adds to this feeling of a quickly captured moment in time. Placed at carriage-level, the viewer seems to be within the stream of vehicles that made up this daily afternoon ritual of fashionable Parisians.