American Impressionism: The Lure of the Artists Colony, organized by the Reading Public Museum in Reading, PA opened at the Springfield Art Museum
and will run through July 2.
This exhibit features 75 oil paintings and thirty works on paper dating to the Golden Age of American Impressionism, the 1880s through the 1940s. Arranged by the artists' colonies that played a critical role in the development of the style, the exhibit examines work produced in Cos Cob and Old Lyme, Connecticut; Cape Cod, Cape Anne and Rockport, in Massachusetts; New Hope and Philadelphia in Pennsylvania; and Taos, New Mexico, among others.
Featured artists include William Merritt Chase, Childe Hassam, Julian Alden Weir, John Twachtman, Chauncey Ryder, as well as American expatriates Mary Cassatt and John Singer Sargent. The exhibition provides a rare opportunity to see such a wide variety of approaches to Impressionism in America, notes Scott Schweigert, The Reading Public Museums Curator of Art and Civilization. While the exhibition includes some big name artists, there are also some rediscoveries - lesser known painters who also embraced elements of Impressionism.
Of particular interest to the Springfield Art Museum, is the inclusion of Philadelphia artist Mary Cable Butler. Butler was a close friend of Museum Founder Deborah Weisel and helped write the bylaws for our Museum in the 1920s, says Museum Director Nick Nelson. It is like celebrating a homecoming of sorts, because the very first pieces of artwork acquired by the Museum in 1928 were two seascapes by Mary Butler. These works are included at the entrance to the Museums rotating installation of its permanent collection, Creating An American Identity.