A new exhibit, “American Impressionism: Treasures from the Daywood collection,” opened at the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture (MAC) in Spokane. The exhibit features 41 pieces of American Impressionist and Post-Impressionist art.
From October 9, 2022 to January 8, 2023, the exhibition contains works dating from the mid-19th to the mid-20th centuries. It features a wide range of subjects, from pastoral landscapes and dramatic seascapes to striking portraits and natural winter scenes.
A variety of American artists who shed light on the Impressionist movement like John Sloan, Charles Hawthorne, Robert Henri, and John Twachtman appear in the exhibit.
According to Kayla Tackett, Director of Exhibitions and Collections at the MAC, the exhibition was originally scheduled to be staged in 2020. However, those plans were put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic and as a result the exhibition was rescheduled. . open this year.
The collection comes from the Huntington Museum of Art in West Virginia and the origins of the art can be traced to patrons Arthur Dayton and Ruth Woods Dayton.
“Together they collected over 200 works of art in their collection and then amassed even more,” Tackett said. “When Arthur died, Ruth decided to create a museum out of their collections. So she housed the collection in a building near their house and called it the Daywood Gallery.
The collection was eventually donated to the Huntington Museum of Art in the 1960s. Visitors to the exhibition can expect to see many key characteristics of Impressionist art as well as the influence of European art on artists Americans.
“You’ll see in the paintings a lot of the broader brushstrokes, and the play with light and color that the European Impressionists did,” Tackett said. “Americans would often go to Europe and study these techniques, then they would bring them back to America and apply the same techniques to American landscapes and American subjects.”
Paul Manoguerra, director and curator of the Jundt Art Museum at Gonzaga University, also pointed to the influence of European artists. Notably, the French Impressionist aesthetic of artists like Claude Monet had a significant influence on the American Impressionists.
“For French Impressionism in particular it is plein air painting from start to finish, loose brushstrokes, relatively rich and frothy impastos, hence layers of pigment on the surface of the canvas, an interest in the effects of time of day, light, season, whatever you paint but also beyond landscape, an interest in everyday life,” Manoguerra said.
One painting in the collection that particularly marked Manoguerra was John Twachtman’s Winter Scene on his Connecticut Farm.
“It was a particularly strong painting in my opinion and an excellent example of the kind of influence of French Impressionist aesthetics on
an American who then applied it specifically to an American landscape,” Manoguerra said. “And in Twachtman’s case, it’s the profound influence of Monet and Monet, in particular, working in Giverny in his.”
Manoguerra said Monet painted subjects and landscapes on his property in Giverny, France, including his famous series of water lily paintings. Twachtman also used his own property in Connecticut to find artistic inspiration.
“Monet is a pretty good winter painter and Twachtman is a great winter painter,” Manoguerra said.
While aesthetic American landscapes of all kinds make up a large portion of the exhibit, there is also a variety of portraiture that Tackett considers both beautiful and appealing.
“There’s always something about a portrait staring at you that’s a little bit special in its own way,” Tackett said.
GU students planning to access the exhibit can expect to pay $10 with a valid student ID. They will also be able to visit the museum’s other exhibitions, including a new retrospective featuring local artist Lila Shaw Girvin.
For Tackett, the exhibition represents a great opportunity for art lovers and for those looking to see the techniques of Impressionism.
“It’s a good show for people who really love art or maybe know names like Monet and Renoir and things like that,” Tackett said. “You’ll see elements that look familiar, like I said, that light and that color and that technique, you’ll see a lot of that here too.”
Check the MAC website for more information on tickets, exhibits and events.