“Impressionist Legacies: The Michael and Aimee Rusinko Kakos Collection,” now on view at the Verostko Center for the Arts (Latrobe, PA), has recently been extended through Friday, December 8, 2023, due to the exhibition’s popularity.
More from the organizers:
The exhibit features an important selection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings recently gifted to Saint Vincent College on behalf of longtime philanthropists Michael and Aimee Rusinko Kakos. Rarely seen by the public in decades, the Collection features 88 works completed by 61 artists who worked alongside those whose names are synonymous with Impressionism and the modernist styles that immediately followed but have largely been omitted from art historical surveys.
Through an international constellation of friendships, parent-child relationships, marriages, professional associations, and academic connections, artists shared ideas, techniques, and inspirations that supported the development of their work. Focused on the transformative years between the 1880s through the 1930s, the Rusinko Kakos Collection links the luminaries of Impressionism with their under-recognized contemporaries. Interested in artists who prized both beauty and innovation in their work, the Kakoses opted to gradually collect pieces that invited sustained looking and appreciation for their London home. The collection is supported by a $1 million endowment that underwrites future conservation and interpretation.
Underscoring the significance of their bequest, Jennifer A. Thompson, Ph.D., Head of the European Painting and Sculpture Department at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, notes:
“Michael and Aimee Rusinko Kakos are joining other distinguished donors who have contributed significantly to the cultural life of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania by enriching our public art collections. It is especially appropriate that Pennsylvania museums should have such strong Impressionist holdings since a prominent member of the group, Mary Cassatt, was born in Allegheny City (now part of Pittsburgh) and trained in Philadelphia. Cassatt encouraged American businessmen and women to collect Impressionism and to leave their collections to museums for others to enjoy.”
Highlights include a portrait by Sir George Clausen (The Novel, 1879), two works by Victor Vignon (Haystacks and The Hamlet), and a Brittany village scene by Victor Charreton (Breton Lacemakers, 1922–1926).
Among several examples by Post-Impressionist luminaries is a still life by Suzanne Valadon (Bouquet of Roses in a Shell, ca. 1919), a stunning portrait by Henri Lebasque of his daughter (Marthe Lebasque at Vézillon, 1912), two garden-based paintings by Maximillien Luce and four works by Georges d’Espagnat informed by Fauvist techniques. The collection boasts representative works by artists who helped introduce Impressionism to England, including Arthur Hacker (A Quiet Cove, Girl Canoeing, 1900), Stanhope Forbes (High Water – Gweek, Cornwall, 1931) and Mark Fisher (Corner of the Orchard, Hatfield Heath, ca. 1920).
“Impressionist Legacies” is organized into three broader categorical subjects that animate artists working in the pivotal years surrounding the turn of the 20th century. With the aim of capturing moments in real time, artists documented the fleeting effects of light on water, the pastoral environs outside Paris and London and the hidden glories of daily life manifested in activities of labor and leisure. An additional section features paintings influenced by Impressionism after World War II.