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Impressionist Treasures from Tacoma Art Museum's Permanent Collection to be Shown for First Time in Years
TACOMA, WA.- Tacoma Art Museum ’s surprising collection of impressionist paintings, works on paper, and sculptures will be exhibited together for the first time in twenty years. Together with other key loans they tell the story of the international nature of the impressionist movement. The Movement of Impressionism: Europe, America, and the Northwest explores the varied forms impressionism took as it traveled from Europe to America and into the Northwest. Each artist and region interpreted impressionist ideas in their own way, sometimes subtly and sometimes in radically different ways, varying color, subject, and technique.

The exhibition features artwork by many well-known French impressionists including Edgar Degas, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, and Camille Pissarro, as well as impressionists from other European countries, such as Joaquín Sorolla from Spain and Johan Barthold Jongkind the Netherlands. American artists in the exhibition include John Singer Sargent, Childe Hassam, and Ernest Lawson. The impressionist art of the Northwest is represented by such artists as Abby Williams Hill, C. C. McKim, and John Davidson Butler among others.

The Movement of Impressionism is the first in a series of unusual survey exhibitions showcasing the strengths of the collection and honoring longtime supporters as Tacoma Art Museum approaches its seventy-fifth anniversary in October 2010. “Impressionist works are an integral part of the museum’s collection” says Stephanie A. Stebich, Director of Tacoma Art Museum, “Local families such as the Lindbergs, Baskins, Murrays, Wagners, and Weyerhaeusers were active collectors and the impact of their gifts to the museum is very much a part of the history of this community. As well, this exhibition speaks directly to the museum’s mission by looking at Northwest art in national and international contexts.”

The European and American impressionist works in the museum’s collection are one of Tacoma’s hidden treasures, rarely on view as a group. They also provide a rich context in which to get acquainted with the lesser-known but equally talented impressionist artists of the Northwest. Curator Margaret Bullock notes “The Northwest had some truly wonderful impressionist painters. They’re known and loved by a small group of collectors and scholars, but deserving of a much bigger audience. I hope this exhibition will help increase that circle of admirers.”

Though familiar and much-loved now, impressionism was a revolutionary art movement that fundamentally changed the art world and inspired an international outburst of experimentation and creativity. The Movement of Impressionism showcases that energy and diversity. “Changing light, pure color, and loose handling are the building blocks of impressionism” says Bullock “and artists used them to create an astonishing variety of interpretations.” Visitors will encounter well-known views of the French countryside and culture alongside subjects such as Spanish street life, American portraiture, and Northwest scenery in a variety of brushstrokes and color palettes.

Tacoma Art Museum | John Singer Sargent | Childe Hassam | Ernest Lawson | Abby Williams Hill | C. C. McKim | John Davidson Butler |

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