Hassam moved to Paris in 1886 to study at the Acad,mie Julian. While in Paris, his paintings were shown at the Salon, the most well-known gallery of the time and conformed to its standards.
Hassam returned to the United States in 1889, settling in New York City, where everyday city life became his favorite theme and subject matter. During this period, Hassam dedicated himself to trying to capture "the moment," a painting philosophy he adopted from the Impressionists. His paintings depict urban motifs in varying weather conditions. He also painted New England landscapes. The influence of the Impressionists on Hassam is illustrated in the painting "New England Headlands," where Hassam utilizes bright, vivid, calm colors to capture the beauty of the village.