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Across the Atlantic: American Impressionism through the French Lens

This exhibition explores the path to Impressionism and the complex relationship between French Impressionism and the American interpretation of the style in the decades that followed.

Committed September 2018 - April 2021

Exhibition Images

  • Richard Blossom Farley (American, 1875-1951), Blue and Gold, 1912, oil on canvas, Museum Purchase, Reading Public Museum, Reading, Pennsylvania.

  • Arthur Watson Sparks (American, 1870-1919), Quai St. Catherine, Martigue, c. 1900-1904, oil on board, Museum Purchase, Reading Public Museum, Reading, Pennsylvania.

  • Leon-Augustin Lhermitte (French, 1844-1925), The Baby’s Hour, 1893, oil on canvas, Gift, Ferdinand Thun and Henry Janssen, Reading Public Museum, Reading, Pennsylvania.

  • John Fabian Carlson (American (born in Denmark) 1875-1947), Snowy Waters, c. 1920-1927, oil on canvas, Museum Purchase, Reading Public Museum, Reading, Pennsylvania.

  • John Singer Sargent (American, 1856-1925), Man Reading (Nicola d’Inverno), c. 1905-1908, oil on canvas, Museum Purchase, Reading Public Museum, Reading, Pennsylvania.

  • Edgar Degas (French, 1834-1917), The Laundress Ironing (La Blanchisseuse Repassant), c. 1882-1886, oil on canvas, Gift, Martha Elizabeth Dick Estate, Reading Public Museum, Reading, Pennsylvania.

About the Exhibition

This exhibition, drawn entirely from the collection of the Reading Public Museum, explores the path to Impressionism through the nineteenth century and the complex relationship between French Impressionism of the 1870s and 80s and the American interpretation of the style in the decades that followed.

More than sixty-five paintings and works on paper help tell the story of the new style of painting which developed at the end of the nineteenth century—one that emphasized light and atmospheric conditions, rapid or loose brushstrokes, and a focus on brightly colored scenes from everyday life.

Some of the artists featured in the exhibition include Edgar Degas, Mary Cassatt, and Victor Vignon, among others, who exhibited in the official Impressionist exhibitions in Paris in the 1870s and 80s. Among the earliest American artists to embrace the style were John Singer Sargent, William Merritt Chase, John Henry Twachtman, Childe Hassam, and Frank W. Benson. A host of American artists who absorbed the style by the turn of the century including Daniel Garber, Edward Redfield, William Paxton, Chauncey Ryder, and Guy Wiggins, are highlighted in the exhibition.

Specifications

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