A new exhibition at the Reading Public Museum
titled American Impressionism: The Lure of the Artists Colony opens September 24, 2011 and continues through January 29, 2012. This comprehensive exhibition features, for the first time, one of The Museums greatest strengths its own collection of works by American Impressionists.
This collection of lyrical landscapes, ranging from snow-covered hills to sun-filled harbors and seascapes, penetrating portraits, and remarkable still life paintings documents an important moment in the history of American art. It includes more than 100 total works, including 75 oil paintings and nearly 30 works on paper dating from the golden age of American Impressionism, the 1880s through the 1940s. A wide range of approaches to impressionism in the earliest twentieth century, including an abiding interest in capturing the effects of light and atmosphere in loosely brushed compositions, is explored.
Arranged according to the artists colonies that played a critical role in the development of American Impressionism around the turn of the century, this exhibition examines those at Cos Cob and Old Lyme in Connecticut; Cape Cod, Cape Anne, and Rockport, in Massachusetts; New Hope and Philadelphia in Pennsylvania; Taos, New Mexico; and throughout California. Within each of these colonies, artists were able to teach, collaborate and escape the daily rigors of their city studios. Often located in scenic locations within striking distance of major cities, artists colonies served up steady doses of natural beauty and provided ample subject matter.
The exhibition provides a rare opportunity to see such a wide variety of approaches to impressionism in America, said Scott Schweigert, The Museums Curator of Art and Civilization. I think visitors will be delightfully surprised by the tremendous scope and depth of The Museums collection in this area. While the exhibition includes some big name artists, there are also some rediscoveries lesser known painters who also embraced elements of impressionism.
Leading artists of the movement include William Merritt Chase, Childe Hassam, Ernest Lawson, Julian Alden Weir, John Twachtman, Chauncey Ryder, Frank W. Benson, William Paxton, Abbott Thayer, Guy Wiggins, Charles Webster Hawthorne, Colin Campbell Cooper, Daniel Garber and Edward Redfield, among others. In addition, American expatriate artists such as Mary Cassatt and John Singer Sargent will be examined.