Born in Dorchester, Mass. in 1885 Hassam left high school to help support his family. He worked for a Boston engraver and started his art career as an illustrator. In 1883 he went to Paris and studied with Louis Bounlanger and Jules Joseph Lefebvre, two academic artists. In Paris Hassam responded well to the impressionistic style which was reaching its peak when he was there. When he returned to America he and his fellow student John Henry Twachtman helped form "The Ten" which was a group of American artists who exhibited together and helped change the American art scene from an academic style to a more impressionistic style. Among the artists involved were Frank Benson, Edward Charles Tarbell, J. Alder Weir and William M. Chase.
Hassam painted life in New York City as well as rural New York and New England. He was elected to the National Academy in 1906 and belonged to the American Water Color Society. At 56 he went back to graphic arts and completed over 350 etchings and lithographs.
Childe Hassam was a prolific painter and a dominate figure in American Impressionism and is one of the most celebrated American artists.