Taft Museum of Art Presents American Impressionism from Cincinnati Collections

The Taft Museum of Art presents American Impressionism from Cincinnati Collections on view through.

Thanks to the generosity of private lenders, the Taft Museum of Art presents a selection of some outstanding late 19th and early 20th-century paintings. All are examples of ‘American Impressionism,’ a term that refers to subjects of contemporary life and landscape rendered in a freely-brushed style. By the 1880s and ’90s, Impressionism had spread from its beginnings in Paris to become an international style.

How did the American Impressionists included in this exhibition gain familiarity with European Impressionism? First, many studied early on in Cincinnati with Frank Duveneck or in New York with William Merritt Chase; both of these influential American teachers had extensive experience working in Europe and transmitted the principles of open-air painting, loose brushwork, and brighter color to their students.

Unlike the French Impressionists, most American artists adopted the new style with some reservations. Many preserved a more finished, carefully-drawn style for the human figure, not letting it dissolve into the welter of strokes used for outdoor elements of their compositions. This trait distinguished many American Impressionists from their European cousins.

Viewed all together, these colorful, boldly brushed canvases amplify the themes of the larger exhibition currently on view in the Fifth Third Gallery, The American Impressionists in the Garden. Further, the high quality of these paintings demonstrates the discernment of art collectors in our region. We appreciate their kindness in sharing their treasures with the public.


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