Feature Articles

April Issue 2000

American Impressionism at Columbia Museum of Art in Columbia, SC

A comprehensive group of American Impressionist paintings produced by 46 artists will be on view at the Columbia Museum of Art in Columbia, SC, from Apr. 8 through June 11. The fifty paintings included in the exhibition are drawn from the exceptional permanent collection of American art at the Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery, University of Nebraska @ Lincoln.

Among the artists represented in the exhibition are Mary Cassatt, Childe Hassam, William Glackens, William Merritt Chase, John Marin, Maurice Prendergast, Joseph Stella and Louis Comfort Tiffany.

Led by French Impressionists Monet, Renoir and Degas, the period from 1870 to about 1890 was characterized by applied pigment in small touches of pure color which seemed dazzlingly bright when compared to works by artists of the academic tradition. Impressionists sought to establish the visual reality of everyday life as legitimate subject matter. Their study of light and its effect was a radical departure from the narrative, romantic and historical concerns of the previous generation of artist.

As theories of Impressionism developed, and transcontinental travel became a customary experience for young American artists, French theories of art began to appear in the work of Eastern seaboard artists. What is referred to as American Impressionism is really a hybrid of influences converging in the United States sometimes as much as sixty years after the height of Impressionism in France. Mary Cassatt, an American expatriate living in Paris, was among the few Americans introduced to Impressionism at its inception and she became a close friend and associate of Edgar Degas, adopting his style and using his preferred medium of pastel. Her portrait of Mary Say Lawrence, which is included in the exhibition, is an example of Cassatt's work under Degas' influence.

The exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue, which includes color reproductions of many of the exhibition's paintings and interpretive essays. This exhibition was organized by the Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery and Sculpture Garden, University of Nebraska @ Lincoln.

For more info check our SC Institutional Gallery listings or call the Museum at 803/799 -2810 or on the web at (http://colmusart.org).

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