This exhibition, which will be one of the main highlights of the National Galleries of Scotland’s summer exhibition programme in 2014, will bring together some 80 paintings by major international artists such as James McNeill Whistler, John Singer Sargent and Mary Cassatt. Exploring the response of American artists to French Impressionism, it will also feature a number of significant artists who are probably better known to American audiences – among them Theodore Robinson, Childe Hassam, William Merritt Chase, Edmund Tarbell and John Twachtman. In addition, a selection of pictures by the French impressionists Claude Monet, Berthe Morisot, and Edgar Degas will provide a context for the American works.
The exhibition will reflect the impact of impressionism on both Americans working abroad in the period from 1880 to 1890, and those working at home in the following decade. It will begin with major paintings by Cassatt and Sargent, who cultivated friendships with French Impressionists and participated in the evolution of the new visual aesthetic. Other artists assimilated impressionism in a more gradual way: Robinson experimented with the changing effects of light while working outdoors alongside Monet at Giverny, while Hassam incorporated impressionist colours and subjects into his more traditional Salon-style pictures.
In America, artists turned to impressionism slightly later. Between 1890 and 1900 painters such as Hassam, Chase, Tarbell and Twachtman adapted impressionism, creating a new vision for an American audience. Their subjects included New York parks, East Coast beaches, New England villages and, of course, the image of the American woman.
This major international exhibition has been organized by the musée des impressionnismes Giverny and the Terra Foundation for American Art with the collaboration of the National Galleries of Scotland and the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza. For its only UK showing, it will be on display at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art (Modern Two).