The response to and influence of 19th-century French Impressionism in America is a tantalizing story, the details of which are told with stunning beauty in a current exhibition in Georgia.
Featuring the works of more than 20 American artists, including Mary Cassatt, William Merritt Chase, Childe Hassam, Willard Metcalf, Theodore Robinson, John Henry Twachtman, and J. Alden Weir, “Monet and American Impressionism” is sure to delight through January 24 at the Telfair Museum of Art in Savannah, Georgia.
“These artists adapted the innovation of French Impressionism and ultimately paved the way to a uniquely American style of painting in the late 19th century,” the museum writes. “The exhibition includes landscapes, portraits, intimate depictions of women and children, and images of modern life in American cities, which together generate dialogues about techniques, composition, and subject matter.”

Gari Melchers, “Unpretentious Garden,” ca. 1903-1909, oil on canvas, 33 3/4 x 40 1/4 in.
(c) Telfair Museum of Art 2015

In particular, the exhibition focuses on how American painters responded to the works of Claude Monet. Four paintings by Monet, alongside around 50 paintings and 20 prints, compose the show. In addition to exploring the elements of Monet’s painting that other artists embraced and rejected, the exhibition calls attention to contemporary 19th-century issues that were relevant to American Impressionists. Whether it be industrialization, exercise, the changing roles of women in American society, or consumer culture, a wide variety of topics are touched, making the exhibition an outstanding experience both visually and intellectually.
The museum continues, “In addition to featuring the leading painters of the day, the exhibition includes works by such lesser-known figures as John Leslie Breck, Richard Emil Miller, Lilla Cabot Perry, and Guy Wiggins, among others. Artists representing a later generation of painters who merged Impressionism with realist concerns, such as Maurice Prendergast, William Glackens, Ernest Lawson, and Jonas Lie, are also included. The installation is organized along five thematic groupings: “The Allure of Giverny,” “A Country Retreat,” “The Vibrance of Urbanism,” “The Comfort of Home,” and “A Graphic Legacy’.”
“Monet and American Impressionism” opened on October 16 and will hang through January 24.
To learn more, visit the Telfair Museum of Art.
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