Monet and American Impressionism highlights the work of more than 20 American artists who launched a new way of painting in response to the influence of French Impressionism. The exhibition presents four paintings by Claude Monet alongside roughly 50 paintings and 20 prints by many of the leading figures of American Impressionism, such as Mary Cassatt, William Merritt Chase, Childe Hassam, Willard Metcalf, Theodore Robinson, John Henry Twachtman, and J. Alden Weir. These artists adapted the innovations of French Impressionism and ultimately paved the way to a uniquely American style of painting in the late nineteenth century. The exhibition includes landscapes, portraits, intimate depictions of women and children, and images of modern life in American cities, which together generate dialogues about techniques, composition, and subject matter.
Monet and American Impressionism considers how the proponents of Impressionism in the United States responded to the paintings of Claude Monet—including both what they embraced and what they ignored in Monet’s work—as well as their responses to aspects of social and cultural life in America during this period. The exhibition explores relevant issues of the times, including America’s fascination with French art and culture, the effect of tourism on artistic taste and consumer culture, the changing roles of women in American society, and the shifting attitudes toward industrialization, exercise, and public health. In addition to featuring the leading painters of the day, the exhibition includes works by such lesser-known figures as John Leslie Breck, Richard Emil Miller, Lilla Cabot Perry, and Guy Wiggins, among others. Artists representing a later generation of painters who merged Impressionism with realist concerns, such as Maurice Prendergast, William Glackens, Ernest Lawson, and Jonas Lie, are also included. The installation is organized along five thematic groupings: “The Allure of Giverny,” “A Country Retreat,” “The Vibrance of Urbanism,” “The Comfort of Home,” and “A Graphic Legacy.”
The exhibition includes six major American Impressionist paintings from Telfair’s own collection, providing visitors with the opportunity to view these beloved and familiar works in a new context. Making its debut at the Harn Museum of Art in Gainesville, Florida, the exhibition then traveled to the Hunter Museum of American Art in Chattanooga, Tennessee, before coming to Savannah. Monet and American Impressionism is organized by the Harn Museum of Art in partnership with Telfair Museums and the Hunter Museum of American Art. A fully illustrated catalogue accompanies the exhibition and includes essays addressing the artistic, cultural, and historical context of American Impressionism from interdisciplinary perspectives.
Sponsored by the City of Savannah’s Department of Cultural Affairs, Richard H. Middleton Jr., SunTrust, the Telfair Academy Guild, and Visit Savannah.