Friday, June 8, 2018

'Innovative Impressions': Prints by Cassatt, Degas, Pissarro

Philbrook Museum of Art,  Tulsa
Jun 10, 2018 - Sep 09, 2018

This summer, Philbrook Museum of Art, in Tulsa, presents an original exhibition celebrating the groundbreaking work of three legendary Impressionist artists: Mary Cassatt, Edgar Degas, and Camille Pissarro.

Featuring more than 90 prints and key paintings on loan from institutions including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and the National Gallery of Art. Innovative Impressions is the first in-depth study to focus on the prints of these three artists together. It explores their remarkable graphic work and the techniques they developed through collaboration and experimentation.

The artists of the Impressionist group are known for their innovative painting methods– approaches that redefined the formal qualities as well as the subjects that were acceptable in art. Three of these innovators, Cassatt, Degas, and Pissarro, similarly expanded the boundaries of the print medium. In 1879 and 1880 they formed the most active core of a group of artists planning to create a periodical featuring their prints.

Through this collaborative effort, they challenged each other to develop a new language of printmaking whose visual and expressive potential went well beyond the traditional reproductive purpose of the medium. Indeed, the intimacy of small-scale works on paper at times spurred the artists to be even more daringly creative than they were in their paintings. Their interactions and engagement with printmaking varied over time, culminating in the 1890s, when each developed distinctive methods of introducing color into their work.

Innovative Impressions highlights the artists’ working processes by including multiple states, or versions, of several prints, allowing viewers to appreciate the experimental techniques through which the images were developed.

detail Cassatt

 Mary Cassatt

The exhibition also includes examples of Cassatt’s 1890–91 series of ten color prints–one of the most significant achievements of her career–as well as several prints that have rarely been exhibited,


Camille Pissarro

and a group of little-known monotypes by Pissarro, who was probably inspired by Degas to take up this technique.

“They were an unlikely trio of artists, from very different backgrounds,” said exhibition curator Sarah Lees. “Yet they learned from each other and from other artists in developing unusual approaches to making prints, especially when they worked together in 1879 and 1880. After their publication project fell through, they continued to keep up with each other, although sometimes their relations became more competitive than collaborative. But this exchange of ideas seems to have played a significant role in their creative processes.”

Edgar Degas:


Innovative Impressions Catalog now available at the Philbrook Museum Shop.

This hardbound, full-color edition with an illuminating essay by Philbrook curator Sarah Lees, this catalog tells the story of this stunning Philbrook-originated exhibition, the first in-depth study of Cassatt, Degas, and Pissarro together.