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American Impressionism special exhibit visits Haggin Museum

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Posted: Saturday, December 16, 2017 2:30 pm

Impressionism often brings to mind the works of Monet, Degas and Renoir, but the artistic movement had American masters, too.

A new exhibit at the Haggin Museum, “American Impressionism: The Lure of the Artists’ Colony,” will be on display through March 4, 2018.

This special exhibition, organized by the Reading Public Museum, gives visitors a unique look into the many approaches and styles of American Impressionism.

“We are honored to be hosting a show of such caliber here at the Haggin Museum,” collections manager Andrea Dompe said. “This beautiful exhibition represents the many facets of American Impressionism from lesser-known artists to more distinguished masters. It tells the story of artists’ colonies across the nation and their impact on impressionism in America during the turn of the century.”

The collection of lyrical landscapes — ranging from snow-covered hills to sun-filled harbors and seascapes, penetrating portraits, and remarkable still life paintings — documents an important moment in the history of American art.

It includes more than 75 total works dating from the golden age of American Impressionism, the 1880s through the 1940s. A wide variety of approaches to impressionism in the earliest 20th century, including an abiding interest in capturing the effects of light and atmosphere in loosely brushed compositions, is explored.

Arranged according to the artists’ colonies that played a critical role in the development of American Impressionism around the turn of the century, this exhibition examines those at Cos Cob and Old Lyme in Connecticut; Cape Cod, Cape Anne and Rockport in Massachusetts; New Hope and Philadelphia in Pennsylvania; Taos, New Mexico; and throughout California.

Within each of these colonies, artists were able to teach, collaborate and escape the daily rigors of their city studios. Often located in scenic locations within striking distance of major cities, artists’ colonies served up steady doses of natural beauty and provided ample subject matter.

Leading artists of the movement included William Merritt Chase, Childe Hassam, Ernest Lawson, Julian Alden Weir, Frank W. Benson and Mary Cassatt, among others.

The Haggin Museum is a nonprofit art and history museum accredited by the American Alliance of Museums.

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