WINSTON-SALEM, NC.- Reynolda House Museum of American Art
's exhibition "American Expatriates: Cassatt, Sargent, and Whistler" will open Dec. 5, 2009 and will remain on view through Apr. 25, 2010 in the Northeast Bedroom Gallery.
"American Expatriates" focuses on the art of a group of young American artists in the mid-nineteenth century who moved to Europe to live, work and study. At some point in their budding careers, most professional artists felt the lure of the Old World and chose to study in Europe, where the art schools and studios had much more prestigious reputations than the just-emerging academies in their native country. Some, like James McNeill Whistler, Mary Cassatt, and John Singer Sargent, remained in Europe essentially for the rest of their lives.
Most of the scholarship on the American expatriate artists focuses on the master/apprentice model, depicting eager young American artists learning at the knee of established European teachers. But for artists as talented as Whistler, Cassatt, and Sargent, the influence they had on their European counterparts was perhaps just as noteworthy as the lessons they learned from them. Whistler, for example, was involved in a highly publicized and notorious trial with the English critic John Ruskin about the very definition of art. Cassatt's enthusiasm for the Japanese print and her experiments with its forms were factors in the explosion of interest in Japanese art in France. Clearly, the Americans were not only students of the Europeans but significant forces on them as well.
Among the works in this small, focused exhibition are four prints by James McNeill Whistler borrowed from the collection of Salem College.