Saturday, May 18, 2013
Impressionist Giverny: A Colony of Artists, 1885–1915
Musée d’Art Américain Giverny: April 1–July 1, 2007; San Diego Museum of Art: July 22–October 14, 2007
Impressionist Giverny: A Colony of Artists, 1885-1915 brought together ninety-five paintings and numerous historic documents produced in Giverny in the years around the turn of the twentieth century. One-third of the objects were drawn from the Terra Foundation for American Art’s collection, which boasts a strong selection of American art painted in the colony. While Americans accounted for the majority of the 350 artists who worked in Giverny between 1885 and 1915, others came from some eighteen countries around the world, including Argentina, Australia, Canada, Great Britain, and Poland.
The presence of master impressionist painter Claude Monet, who settled in the village in 1883, attracted them, but it does not solely explain Giverny’s popularity. Artists also were drawn by the opportunity to combine the practice of plein air painting with an active social life and the locale’s picturesque features and easy proximity to Paris. Many artists visited briefly, while others purchased homes and studios. Within a few years, the artists transformed the quiet Norman village into an active colony.
The four sections of the exhibition followed the chronological and thematic evolution of painting in the colony from its origins in Barbizon-inspired landscapes to impressionist views of the village and decorative depictions of women in gardens.
'Claude Monet, Meadow with Haystacks near Giverny, oil on canvas, 1885. © Museum of Fine Arts Boston. Bequest of Arthur Tracy Cabot 42.541.'
'Claude Monet, Morning on the Seine, near Giverny, oil on canvas,
'Frederick Carl Frieseke, Lady in a Garden, oil on canvas, 1915. Terra Foundation for American Art, Daniel J. Terra Collection, 1999:52.'
'John Leslie Breck, Autumn, Giverny (The New Moon), oil on canvas, 1889. Terra Foundation for American Art, Daniel J. Terra Collection, 1989.16.'
'John Leslie Breck, Study of an Autumn Day, No. 7, oil on canvas, 1891. Terra Foundation for American Art, Daniel J. Terra Collection, 1989.4.7.'
'Theodore Robinson, Blossoms at Giverny, oil on canvas, 1891-1892. Terra Foundation for American Art, Daniel J. Terra Collection, 1992.130.'
'Theodore Robinson, From the Hill, Giverny, oil on canvas, 1889-1892. Terra Foundation for American Art, Daniel J. Terra Collection, 1987.6.'
'Theodore Robinson, The Wedding March, oil on canvas, 1892. Terra Foundation for American Art, Daniel J. Terra Collection, 1999.127.'
Published in conjunction with the exhibition of the same name, which appeared at the Musee d'Art Americain / Terra Foundation for American Art and the San Diego Museum of Art; Includes four essays, as well as various historical documents; Features works by Claude Monet, Karl Anderson, Theodore Robinson, William Howard Hart, Lilla Cabot Perry, Baptist Scherer, Mary Foote, and many others Color illus. wraps; 219 pp.; Profusely illustrated in color.
Lured by the ineffable beauty represented in Claude Monet’s artwork and the promise of painting en plein air, artists from America and across Europe flocked to the French village of Giverny in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, transforming it from a sleepy hamlet to a colorful and thriving artists’ community. Impressionist Giverny: A Colony of Artists, 1885-1915 evokes the longevity of impressionism and highlights the role Giverny played in the movement’s ascendance, placing Giverny in the context of other European artists’ colonies of its era.
Making use of reproductions of period postcards, paintings, photographs, and previously unpublished documents, editor Katherine M. Bourguignon traces the evolution of the impressionist style in this idyllic and international setting. Fellow contributors address the interactions of the artists of Giverny with Monet, the utopian experiment of a collective artistic enterprise, the emergence of the rural innkeeper as a new class of patron, and the American impressionists who, inspired by their experience in France, often formed artists’ colonies back in the United States and participated in the ongoing tradition of French-American cultural exchange.
Accompanying exhibitions at the Musée d’Art Américain Giverny and at the San Diego Museum of Art, Impressionist Giverny: A Colony of Artists, 1885-1915 captures the creative spirit and aesthetic that enlivened this artistic haven a century ago.