Brevard Museum of Art & Science
Sunlight and Shadow: American Impressionism 1885 - 1945
December 11, 1999 - January 30, 2000
"Sunlight and Shadow" features a collection chiefly comprised of impressionist landscape paintings by American artists. Organized by the Fuller Museum of Art in Massachusetts from a private collection, the exhibition also contains still lifes and portraits created by eminent New England impressionists working during the late 19th century and first half of the 20th century. "Sunlight and Shadow" casts new light on these artists and their impact on American art. The exhibition is on display through January 30, 2000.
The term "impressionism" was coined when the critic Louis Leroy of the Parisian journal Le Charivari lifted it from the title of Claude Monet's painting Impression: Sunrise (1872). Leroy's sarcastic tone was a response to what he considered the unfinished quality of the artwork in the exhibition - the first of eight group exhibitions held between 1874 and 1886 by the Indépendants (soon to be known as the Impressionists). This officially incorporated group had formed to directly oppose the French government-sponsored Salon or academic painting. In 1886, a French art dealer, Paul Durand-Ruel, verging on bankruptcy, brought 300 paintings by Barbizon and Impressionist painters to New York. An extended run of the exhibition, sanctioned and hosted by the National Academy of Design, was tantamount to an official blessing; consequently, Impressionism would be given serious recognition in America.
"Art historians generally agree that American artists went directly to the heart of the movement's enduring appeal: applying the idea of squaring off intense color oppositions to create a vivid and immediate sense of color," says Jackie Borsanyi, curator of education for the museum. "American artists recorded our landscapes in the colors of each season. This exhibition demonstrates the range and depth of perception as unique to each artist as each ephemeral moment." Although the exhibition's focus is on Impressionist landscape painting, the exhibition also contains still life and portrait paintings. These seventy-eight pieces include works in oil, watercolor and pastel dating from 1885 to 1945. These impressionist paintings have been selected for national tour from the private collection of Jim Lyons by the Fuller Museum in Brockton, Massachusetts.
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