Knoxville Museum of Art
August 11 through November 12, 2017
Drawn from the extensive collection of the Reading Public Museum, this vibrant exhibition examines the key role played by artists’ colonies in the development of American Impressionism.
Lyrical landscapes of snow-covered hills and sun-drenched harbors, portraits, and still-life paintings exemplify American artists’ varied approaches to Impressionism during the early twentieth century. Oil paintings and works on paper reveal the abiding interest they shared – capturing the effects of light and atmosphere in loosely brushed compositions.
Arranged by artists’ colonies from New England to Taos, New Mexico, and California, the exhibition explores the critical role of the colonies in the development of American Impressionism in the 1880s through the 1940s. Colony artists – surrounded and inspired by scenic locations – taught, collaborated, and escaped the daily rigors of their city studios.
Included are works by William Merritt Chase, Frank W. Benson, Guy Wiggins, Charles Webster Hawthorne, Edward Redfield, and American expatriate artists Mary Cassatt and John Singer Sargent.
The more than 50 paintings and works on paper also includes works by Childe Hassam, Ernest Lawson, William Paxton, Robert Reid, Chauncey Ryder, John Twachtman, Julian Alden Weir, and many others.
Many of the nationally prominent artists represented in this exhibition have ties to East Tennessee and the KMA’s ongoing display Higher Ground: A Century of the Visual Arts in East Tennessee. More than a dozen participated in large art exhibitions held in conjunction with Knoxville’s 1910 and 1911 Appalachian Expositions, and the 1913 National Conservation Exposition. Their paintings appeared alongside those of several East Tennessee artists represented in Higher Ground, such as Catherine Wiley, Lloyd Branson, Adelia Lutz, Charles Krutch, and Hugh Tyler, to name a few. These sprawling and ambitious exhibitions were designed with the goal of bringing the “best contemporary art in America” to people of the region. The displays highlighted art currents of the day, and allowed East Tennessee artists to demonstrate their proficiency in a national context.
Among other ties, John F. Carlson served as a juror for the 1913 Expo art exhibition along with Knoxville impressionist painter Catherine Wiley. Robert Reid was one of Wiley’s art instructors during her studies in New York, and Mary Cassatt’s intimate domestic scenes inspired Wiley’s career-long interest in depicting women and children. As a result of these and other connections, this exhibition offers a broader national lens through which viewers can assess the work of Wiley, Branson, Lutz, Krutch, Tyler and other Higher Ground artists who also experimented with Impressionism.
Organized by the Reading Public Museum, Pennsylvania. Exhibition runs through November 12, 2017. Sponsors of this exhibition include UBS, Emerson Automation Solutions, and Sarah Stowers. Media sponsors include Big Wheel, Kurt Zinser Design, and WBIR.
- Robert Reid (Stockbridge, Massachusetts 1862-1929 Clifton Springs, New York), Summer Breezes, ca. 1910-20. Oil on canvas, 33 3/4 x 39 inches, Reading Public Museum, Pennsylvania
- Charles Webster Hawthorne, A Study in White, ca. 1900, oil on canvas
- Edward Willis Redfield, Winter in the Valley, ca. 1905-1915, oil on canvasGuy Carleton Wiggins, Gloucester at Twilight, 1916, oil on canvas