Monet and American Impressionism

JEPSON CENTER October 16, 2015 - January 24, 2016

Monet Web Page Header

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.

Claude-Monet---Waterloo-Bridge 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.”

1942.7_-Frieseke_smallThe 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.

Click here to become an exhibition sponsor  »



Additional Exhibition Materials


Painting Labels – Part 1
Painting Labels – Part 2
Educator Guide


Related Events

Jepson Center’s Neises Auditorium
Sponsored by the Telfair Academy Guild
Free for members | Non-members $12

An online reservation and a printed e-ticket are required to attend. Reservations will be available one month prior to the lecture date.

Three evening lectures will provide Telfair members and visitors with an overview of Impressionism, an introduction to key themes in the Monet and American Impressionism exhibition, and an illustration of the exhibition’s connections to Telfair’s permanent collection. Courtney McNeil, Curator of Fine Arts and Exhibitions at Telfair Museums, will present an introductory lecture on Impressionism as a movement, placing works from Telfair’s collection in context. A second lecture, by the distinguished scholar Dr. Nancy Mowll Mathews, will explore what was new scientifically and culturally about light in the nineteenth century, and how Monet and his American colleagues saw these studies, and Impressionism, through nationalistic lenses. Dr. Mathews is the author and editor of numerous books, including biographies of Mary Cassatt and Paul Gauguin, and is a visiting associate professor at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts and the Eugénie Prendergast Senior Curator and Lecturer Emerita at Williams College. Courtney McNeil will close the series by addressing Impressionism’s influence on prints made by notable American artists and exploring why those artists chose to pursue a difficult medium after achieving success with their paintings.

An online reservation and a printed e-ticket are required to attend. Reservations will be available one month prior to the lecture date.

Modern Light, Monet, and the Americans
Lecture by Dr. Nancy Mowll Mathews
Thursday, October 29 | 6pm
Members free, non-members $12. Reception follows in the Eckburg Atrium with light appetizers and a beer and wine cash bar.

Imprinting Impressionism: The Graphic Work of Mary Cassatt, Frank Benson, and Childe Hassam
Lecture by Courtney McNeil
Tuesday, November 3 | 6pm
Members free, non-members $12. Reception follows in the Eckburg Atrium with light appetizers and a beer and wine cash bar.



Guided Walk-in Tours
Fridays, October 23–January 22 | 2pm | Jepson Center

Curator’s Tours
Fridays, October 30, November 20, December 18, January 8 | 2pm | Jepson Center


Free Family Day!
November 14 | Jepson Center
Enjoy Telfair Square and the Monet and American Impressionism exhibit at this inside and outside Free Family Day. Children can engage in activities in the square sponsored by Dick Blick Art Materials, try plein air painting, make water lilies, participate in story time, learn how to mix colors, and more!


Claude Monet (French, 1840-1926)
Champ d’avoine (Oat Field), 1890
Oil on canvas, 26 x 36 7/16 inches
Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art, University of Florida
Gift of Michael A. Singer

Claude Monet (France, 1840-1926)
Waterloo Bridge, 1903
Oil on canvas, 26 x 92 in. (66 x 81.3 cm)
Collection of the Lowe Art Museum, University of Miami,
Gift of Ione T. Staley, 60.057.000

Frederick Carl Frieseke (American, 1874-1939)
The Garden Umbrella, by 1910
Oil on canvas
32 x 32 in.
Telfair Museums, Bequest of Elizabeth Millar (Mrs. Bernice Frost) Bullard, 1942.7