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"American Impressionists Abroad and at Home: Paintings from the Collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art"
2001-08-24 until 2001-11-18
Cheekwood Botanical Garden and Museum of Art
Nashville, TN, USA United States of America

American Impressionists Abroad and at Home features 39 paintings by 28 artists who used their art to examine daily life during the period of dynamic social change at the turn of the 20th century. Representing a cross-section of the Metropolitans holdings, the exhibition includes paintings from the galleries, works more frequently seen in The Henry R. Luce Center for the Study of American Art and canvases that have been on long-term loan to other institutions.

The American impressionists were among the most thoroughly trained, widely traveled and cosmopolitan painters in the history of our nations art. Many artists were expatriates who allied themselves with European artists aesthetically and personally. Mary Cassatt, for example, found inspiration and friendship in Edgar Degas, while John Singer Sargent was a friend of Claude Monet. Although some American impressionists produced superficial imitations of the new French manner of painting, the most interesting of them grasped and interpreted its essence, especially the conviction that art should originate in personal experience. American impressionists appropriated many of their French mentors methods, including rapid, plein-air or on location painting, which results in looser work as the artist tries to capture changing light, weather and shadow. The result is broken brushwork, a light-saturated color palette, unconventional compositions and rough paint surfaces. These works range from domestic scenes, including the artists own homes, to the busy streets of Paris and New York. Artists in the exhibition include such American luminaries as Mary Cassatt, William Merritt Chase, Childe Hassam, John Singer Sargent and Julian Alden Weir.

According to Cheekwood assistant curator Terri Smith, While the French impressionists focused on the common man as subject matter in their works, the American impressionists rendered compositions featuring picturesque views and high society. The result is a body of work that combines the formal elements of French impressionism with idealized imagery of American life during a tumultuous time of industrialized growth.

William Merritt Chase
For the Little One
ca. 1895. Oil on canvas
40 x 35 1/4 in.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Amelia B. Lazarus Fund, by exchange, 1917. (13.90)
Photograph 1985 The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

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