Omer T. Lassonde (1903-1980) was one of the most prominent New England artists of the 20th century. His 50-year career earned him a reputation as a talented, prolific and versatile artist.
Lassonde was born in Penacook, New Hampshire, in 1903, the youngest of eight children of a Franco-American family. He studied at the Manchester institute of Arts and Sciences (now the New Hampshire Institute of Art), the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia, the Dr. Albert C. Barnes Foundation of Modern Art in Merion, Pennsylvania, and the Hugh H. Breckenbridge School of Color in Gloucester, Massachusetts. As a student, he toured the galleries of Europe under scholarship from the Pennsylvania Academy, a voyage which profoundly influenced his art.
Lassonde’s paintings were exhibited in galleries and museums throughout the United States and in France, and he was honored with numerous awards. He was considered a painters’ painter. He took great joy in the creative process, and experimented with different painting styles, both realistic and abstract. He was particularly fond of the Impressionists and Post-Impressionists and at times his work is reminiscent of such masters as Gauguin and Cezanne. Among his subjects were formal portraits, often painted on commission; New England landscapes, still-lifes; and experimental abstract compositions.
The late Mrs. Louisa Lassonde, herself an award-winning craftsperson, once said of her husband,
“He was a colorist. He used pure, rich colors. He wasn’t afraid of anything”.
He ventured outside of New England to paint in the Samoan Islands where he produced portraits of prominent members of the native society as well as the tropical landscape. He also painted a series depicting black sharecroppers in Tennessee, and created a variety of work in studios in Florida and California. During the Great Depression, Lassonde was the Federal Art Director for the Works Progress Administration (WPA) for New Hampshire. He served in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers during World War II, where he painted stage sets for orientation lectures, and illustrations for first aid courses.
Lassonde had a long and productive relationship with the New Hampshire Art Association, which he co-founded in 1940. He served the Association in several capacities including as president and exhibit organizer. When in died in 1980, he bequeathed his home in Boscawen to the group, which served as the NHAA headquarters for many years. In 1987 Lassonde’s widow, Louisa, donated a sizable collection of his paintings to the Association.
Mediums Accepted: painting, drawing, photography, printmaking, mixed-media, sculpture (1-2 per artist)
Exhibition Dates: Mar. 30-Apr. 30
Juror: Jessica Roscio, Curator, Danforth ART Museum \ School
Opening Reception: Fri. April 1, 5-8 pm
Deadline: Sat. March 26, 5 pm