Art Colonies and American Impressionists

January 9 through April 11, 1999

at the Laguna Art Museum


The 80th anniversary of the art colony in Laguna Beach is nothing short of a landmark in the history of California art. Its place in the annals of the state's art history firmly established, it is now time to place Laguna Beach and its art colony in the general context of American painting.

This anniversary offers the perfect moment to create an exhibition which juxtaposes the efforts of artists working in Laguna Beach to those working within other regional art colonies, particularly in Connecticut, New York, Massachusetts, and Indiana.

The art colonies that developed at the turn of the century in Cos Cob and Old Lyme, Connecticut, or Shinnecock, Long Island, for example, bear resemblance to the growth and popularity of Laguna Beach. One major similarity between Laguna and its Eastern counterparts was the.dominance of Impressionism, or a plein-air painting style,.which flourished and remained vibrant well into the twentieth century. The allure of Impressionism on both coasts will be examined within this context.

Several museums and corporate collections expressed a willingness to participate in loaning works for Art Colonies and American Impressionists. Among them are the Florence Griswold Museum, Old Lyme, Connecticut; the Parrish Art Museum, Southampton, New York; The Bush-Holley House, Cos Cob, Connecticut, and the Hartford Steam Boiler Inspection and Insurance Company, Hartford, Connecticut.

Artists' represented from the East Coast will include a veritable "who's who" of American Impressionists, including William Merritt Chase , Childe Hassam, Ernest Lawson, Willard Metcalf and John Twachtman. The exhibition of some sixty paintings will also include key examples by such Califonia artists as Anna Hills, Franz A. Bischoff, Benjamin Chambers Brown, Joseph Kleitsch, Edgar Payne, Granville Redmond, Donna Schuster and William Wendt.

The 80th anniversary exhibition, Art Colonies and American Impressionists, organized by Laguna Art Museum, will be guest curated by Deborah Solon, M.Phil., a graduate of The Graduate Center, City University, New York and a specialist in American painting, and by Janet Blake (Dominik), known for her pioneering work on California Impressionism. The exhibition will be accompanied by a 112 page, color-illustrated catalogue with essays by Deborah Solon and others, that will critically assess the accomplishments of several art colonies in the context of American Impressionism as well as address the similarities and differences between the Eastern and Western colonies.

From top to bottom: William Merritt Chase, The Chase Homestead, oil on panel, 14 1/4 x 16 1/8 inches, San Diego Museum of Art, CA; Frederick Childe Hassam, The Mill Pond, oil on canvas, 26 1/4 x 18 1/4 inches, The Bruce Museum, CT; William Chadwick, On the Porch, oil on canvas, 24 x 30 inches, Florence Griswold Museum, CT. Please click on the images to enlarge them.

Also see What Made Laguna Beach Special; essay by Deborah Epstein Solon (1999)


Resource Library editor's note:

Please click on the images to enlarge them.

The above accompanying images were reprinted in Resource Library on 9/1/98 with permission of the Laguna Art Museum If you have questions or comments regarding the materials please contact the Laguna Art Museum,

For California art history overall see California Art History, California Artists: 19th-21st Century, California Impressionism and California Regionalism and California School of Painters.

For further biographical information on selected artists cited above please see America's Distinguished Artists, a national registry of historic artists.

rev. 11/22/10

Search Resource Library for thousands of articles and essays on American art.

Copyright 2010 Traditional Fine Arts Organization, Inc., an Arizona nonprofit corporation. All rights reserved.