America’s Impressionism: Echoes of a Revolution

Brandywine River Museum of Art

October 09, 2021 - January 09, 2022

As American artists—often having trained in France—returned home in the late nineteenth century, they put a distinctly American twist on this style of painting, creating a new genre and teaching it to subsequent generations of artists. America’s Impressionism: Echoes of a Revolution explores this history, bringing more than sixty works together to show this evolution in American painting and demarcate it clearly from its European origins.

French Impressionism made its public debut in Paris in 1874 with an exhibition that famously shocked critics and viewers alike. But it is believed that Impressionism did not formally arrive in the U.S. until more than a decade later, when Parisian art dealer Paul Durand-Ruel organized a major New York exhibition of French works in 1886. Slowly, its influence on American artists took hold. Some, like Willard Metcalf, Theodore Robinson, and Theodore Wendel, went to Giverny to learn from Claude Monet, the French master painter. Others, such as William Merritt Chase, Daniel Garber, Childe Hassam, and John Henry Twachtman, returned from studying and working in Europe to form new clusters of American Impressionist painters in rural communities in Connecticut, New York, and Pennsylvania, eventually spreading to the American Southwest.

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