Impressionist Show is a Global Showcase
NCMA Museum Hosts Masterworks by Renoir, Degas, Hassam, Grenville and Others Paintings from Greta Garbo’s Private Collection on View
March 19-July 10, 2022
Childe Hassam, Italian Day, May 1918, oil on canvas, 36 x 26 in. Art Bridges.
Impressionism is the most popular style of art worldwide, with followers around the globe. With masterworks by all the leading figures, this ravishingly beautiful show of sun-filled landscapes and colorful portraits opens at the Nassau Museum of Art in time for spring. The most beloved art movement of all time began in Paris when a bold band of painters headed by Renoir, Degas, Ce?zanne and Pissarro (all of whom are represented in the exhibition) rebelled against the tight realism of the day and the threat of photography. Spreading rapidly across Europe, Russia, Asia and the Americas, Impressionism became more than just a way of painting—it was a way of seeing that swept the world. This show combines important French originators with their Asian, European and American colleagues (including those from both forks on the East End of Long Island, a renowned colony of artists working across the Sound in Lyme, Connecticut and California). Brimming with colorful works from far and near, it also transcends time periods, starting with rare paintings by the mighty English master J.M.W. Turner (who influenced the French Impressionists) and culminating with Contemporary “Neo-Impressionists” such as Mark Innerst, Ross Bleckner, Max Kozloff and an exciting new talent, Flora Yukhnovich. It is a movement that began officially with the infamous Salon des Refuses (1874) but was prefigured by revolutionary innovations in painting pioneered by Turner as well as Courbet and others. Even today, this approach to painting is making all the difference in the way we experience the world.
Aux courses. Les Jockeys, c.1868
oil on panel, 18 1/16 x 14 9/16 inches
Courtesy Private Collection and International Art Acquisitions, Inc.
At the core of the exhibition is a dialogue between France and America. The discovery of Impressionism was a momentous shift in perception as well as art. Monet and Ce?zanne pioneered a way of rendering the light itself. Instead of attempting to depict the landscape itself, the Impressionists captured the “envelope” of air between the eye and the motif, such as a cathedral or haystack, using a loose style of brushwork typified by the comma stroke and bright patches (called “taches” by their critical advocate Felix Feneon) of pure color. In the hands of Renoir, Degas, Ce?zanne and others in the show, this profound new idea about the relationship between the painting and the world took on individual characteristics. For Renoir, it led to dreamy landscapes in a rainbow of bright tones layered one on top of each other, while Ce?zanne caught the shimmer of leaves in the wind with prismatic strokes of his pencil, charcoal or brush.
Among the many Americans who arrived in Paris to try this new technique alongside the masters were Mary Cassatt, who became a prote?ge? of Degas, and Childe Hassam, both of whom are represented in the show by major works. Many Americans made the pilgrimage to Paris and to Giverny, including Theodore Robinson, Ernest Lawson, William Merritt Chase and Paul Cornoyer, whose views of France are among the most inspiring paintings in the show.
Meanwhile, colonies of artists who were dedicated to the movement began to emerge in the United States, including tight-knit groups in the Hamptons (where Chase taught in Shinnecock) on the North Fork (in Southold, where Henry and Edith Prellwitz had side-by-side studios overlooking Peconic Bay) and overlooking the Sound in Lyme, Connecticut. Several works are in the show made by these artists who painted outdoors in picturesque spots that are often still frequented by painters today and retain the luminous natural beauty that drew earlier generations.
In England, one of the most eloquent champions of the Impressionist way of painting was Roger Fry, a writer who was part of the amazing Bloomsbury group of intellectuals who lived, loved and worked together in London and at Charleston, a country house in Sussex. Impressionist painter Vanessa Bell and her sister, literary superstar Virginia Woolf, joined other renowned figures in the Bloomsbury group, including the economist John Maynard Keynes and his wife Lydia Lopokova, an internationally renowned ballerina. The exhibition includes a gallery devoted to paintings and drawings by Fry, Bell and her husband Duncan Grant (including studies for the ballets he designed).
A contemporary English artist who was influenced by both Bell and Fry is Hugo Grenville. His work marry colour and pattern in an impressionist style. A feeling of intimacy in his work connects him to Cezanne and Degas. His inspirational paintings are an unashamed and joyous celebration of life, steeped in the English Romantic tradition.
The Window in Winter.
Oil on canvas
42 x 42 inches
Courtesy of Wally Findlay Fine Art, New York
River Seine at Boissise-la-Bertrand, n.d.
Oil on canvas
12 x 18 inches
Courtesy of Mark Murray Fine Paintings, New York
Bloomsbury group in Sussex
The exhibition also includes several important museum loans, including a prized seascape by Johan Jongkind (an early influence on Monet) from the permanent collection of Hofstra University and a stunning cityscape by Childe Hassam that is a highlight of the renowned Crystal Bridges Museum in Bentonville, Arkansas. Provenance is an exciting part of the show, which includes one of Greta Garbo’s favorite paintings, a landscape by Andre Lhote which for decades was a centerpiece of her Manhattan apartment’s brightly colored de?cor (Lhote had been the teacher of Garbo’s brother).
Because Impressionism was a way of understanding the world that transcended both borders and time periods, the exhibition moves into our own time with a selection of works by important Contemporary artists, including recent work by Ross Bleckner, Mark Innerst, Max Kozloff, Jane Wilson and others.
Mark Innerst, Gateway, 2014, oil on panel in the artist’s handmade frame, 20 x 16 in.,
25 x 21 in. (framed), Courtesy of the artist and DC Moore Gallery, New York (c) Courtesy of the artist and DC Moore Gallery, New York
The exhibition will be accompanied by a full-color catalogue and programs that include lectures, artist talks, orchestral and chamber concerts featuring the works of composers such as Debussy and Faure (who were associated with French Impressionism) and our popular artists in the galleries series featuring the Contemporary painters in the show.
About the Museum
Nassau County Museum of Art is located at One Museum Drive in Roslyn Harbor. The museum is open Tuesday-Sunday, 11 a.m.-4:45 p.m. Admission is $15 for adults, $10 for seniors (62 and above) and $5 for students and children (4 to12). Docent-led tours of the exhibition are offered at 2 p.m. each day; tours of the mansion are offered each Saturday at 1 p.m.