American Impressionism from the Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery
Elizabeth Nourse, Meditation, 1902, oil on canvas, 26 1/2 x 27 1/2 inches
The Columbus Museum will host the exhibition American Impressionism from the Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery from April 18 - July 11, 1999, in the Shorter and Leebern Galleries. A Gallery Walk of the exhibition is scheduled for Sunday, April 18, at 2 p.m. This exhibition was organized by the Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery and Sculpture Garden, University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Local presentation is made possible by generous support from AFLAC.
"One of the finest public collections of 19th and 20th century American art anywhere is to be found at the Sheldon in Lincoln, Nebraska," according to Museum director Tom Butler. "For years I have enjoyed walking through their galleries and seeing all the masterworks, and hoping for an opportunity to work with them. I am indebted to the director, George Neubert, for making it possible for Columbus to bring these Impressionist treasures into our community and throughout the Southeast during its tour."
Impressionism arrived in the United States in the 1880s, a time when American artists returned home from jaunts to Europe or studies in French academies and art colonies where they were influenced by the Impressionist aesthetic. In addition, an 1886 exhibition introduced many American collectors to French artists such as Degas, Monet, and Renoir, for the first time. As a result, American artists and the buying public became interested in the Impressionist interpretation of color and light and the reaction against academic realism which had been popular in American art.
The Impressionists chose not to mix pigment on their palettes, but to place it directly on the canvas for viewers' eyes to fuse and interpret the resulting color relationships.
The Impressionists chose not to mix pigment on their palettes, but to place it directly on the canvas for viewers' eyes to fuse and interpret the resulting color relationships. Furthermore, their interpretations promoted transiency, capturing one moment in time and its incorporation of light and atmosphere. The characteristics of Impressionism, including an intense use of color, interpreting everyday life, and promoting the transient effects of light and atmosphere, provided a sense of immediacy new to American art that would be absorbed and utilized by artists in the United States well into the first two decades of the twentieth century.
The exhibition features some 46 works by artists such as Mary Cassatt, William Glackens, Willard Metcalf, Childe Hassam, Elizabeth Nourse, Theodore Robinson, Guy Carlton Wiggins, Lilian Wescott Hale, John Twachtman, Robert Henri, and William Merritt Chase. The exhibition is a thorough exploration of American Impressionism including examples by artists who were considered Impressionists as well as those who employed similar techniques and subject matter but were not labeled "Impressionists."
For further biographical information on selected artists cited above please see America's Distinguished Artists, a national registry of historic artists.
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