Landscapes from the Age of Impressionism
Chronicling the evolution of 19th-century French open-air painting up to its influence on early 20th-century American artists, Landscapes from the Age of Impressionism includes many of the Brooklyn Museum’s finest works from this period. By the mid-1800s, a new generation of landscape artists had become observers of scenes without obvious incident or drama, but of nature imbued with a humble, yet poetic, beauty and dignity.
In France, working outdoors, the Barbizon painters recorded nature in oil sketches, later completing their works in the studio. They captured brilliant lighting effects in their informal compositions of a stretch of beach, a corner of a harbor, or a winding river. Charles Daubigny’s depictions of fleeting moments of light and atmosphere and Eugène Boudin’s animated brushwork in views of the sea and sky greatly influenced the painters eventually called the “Impressionnistes.” By the final decades of the century, artists such as Claude Monet, Camille Pissarro, and other French Impressionists sought to capture directly the experience of looking at nature, often under varying light conditions.
Americans were such devoted disciples of the French landscape painters that distinguishing between the artists’ nationalities is often a challenge. John Singer Sargent, who lived as an expatriate in Europe, indulged in an exotic fantasy in his outdoor scene of languorous relaxation. Childe Hassam and William Glackens captured sun-drenched reveries and damp sea air in their works. American Impressionists delighted in presenting images of people at play and tended to ignore the abject side of life in their urban scenes.
Complementing Landscapes from the Age of Impressionism, an installation of paintings and photographs chiefly from the McNay’s collection of postwar and contemporary art explores the landscape as subject. Among the works are Carl Rice Embrey’s and Roger Winter’s paintings of rural Texas, which contrast with symbolic landscapes in Ernesto Pujol’s digital image and Ray Smith’s surreal panorama painting. Massimo Vitali’s large photographic diptych presents his typical beach scenes, while Robert Yasuda’s ethereal, iridescent painting explores the idea of sky or sea, rather than depicting either.
An extra admission charge to the McNay applies during this exhibition (general admission + $5).
General admission to the McNay collection is FREE on Thursday nights and on AT&T First Sundays of the month.Admission to the Museum and to Landscapes from the Age of Impressionism is FREE for McNay members.
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Landscapes from the Age of Impressionism has been organized by the Brooklyn Museum.
Lead funding at the McNay is generously given by the Elizabeth Huth Coates Charitable Foundation of 1992.
Additional funding is provided by Lenora and Walter F. Brown, AT&T, the Marcia and Otto Koehler Foundation, and the Director’s Circle.
Media sponsorship is provided by the San Antonio Express-News