Terpsichore in Paint
Winter, Midnight - 1894, by Childe Hassam Drifting with the Tide, Venice - 1884, by Ralph Wormeley Curtis Near the Beach, Shinnecock - 1895, by William Merritt Chase On the Sands - 1915, by Edward Potthast A Windy Day - 1910, by Alice Schille
By Tom Wachunas
“For an Impressionist to paint from nature is not to paint the subject, but to realize sensations.” - Paul Cezanne
“The pleasure we derive from the representation of the present is due, not only to the beauty it can be clothed in, but also to its essential quality of being the present.” - Charles Baudelaire
Terp·sich·o·re | tərp-ˈsi-kə-(ˌ)rē / - the Greek Muse of dancing
EXHIBIT: Dancing in the LIGHT: Masterworks from The Age Of American Impressionism / at the CANTON MUSEUM of ART (CMA), 1001 Market Avenue N., Canton, Ohio / Through March 7, 2021 / 330-453-7666 /Advance Timed Ticket Reservations Required – Visit www.cantonart.org/reservetickets
Hours and Admission link: https://www.cantonart.org/contact/hoursandadmission/hours
Click on these links for more comprehensive background and commentary (including videos):
Canton Museum of Art MAGAZINE:
This post is very late in arriving, and for that I can only offer my sincerest apologies. Still, it’s not too late - the exhibit’s final day is March 7. If you haven’t seen it yet, I highly encourage you to get interactive and click on the hyperlinks above before your visit.
This important – and in a word, magnificent – exhibit was guest-curated by James M. Keny, of Keny Galleries in Columbus. It’s a stunning selection of 51 American Impressionist works, gathered from museum collections in Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton, Toledo and Youngstown; from museums in Michigan, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, as well as from private collections.
The exhibit is an enthralling remembrance of one seminal passage into Modernist painting, which first emerged in a time when growing numbers of European painters were breaking free of the rigid academic standards that had been imposed on their medium for centuries.
It’s interesting to note that the name, Impressionist, was originally a derisive reference to an 1874 Paris exhibit of paintings by 30 artists, including Claude Monet. Among his works in the show was his 1872 painting titled Impression: Sunrise, and one of many works skewered by French art critic Louis Leroy. His sardonic review mercilessly ridiculed this new style as too raw, too unfinished, too unrefined. Here’s a link, and if you read it, I think you’ll agree that Leroy’s scathing assessment was, while oddly funny, a monumental failure of perception:
Undaunted, the style became a movement that would further impact and inspire notably eminent painters in America. Impressionism was a metamorphosis - a deeper probing and expansion of Romanticism’s spontaneity, the earthy physicality of Courbet’s Realism, the gestural fluidity of Manet. Making a painting no longer had to be a matter of duplicating or imitating the exactitude of observed nature; no longer just a varnished window framing a static illusion for the gaze of spectators standing still.
Impressionist paintings offer an immersive sensory experience invested with a lyrical materiality all their own. You could call it a kinetic expressivity, or a visceral choreography, performed by the quick prancing of staccato brush strokes, or the broader strides of a palette knife. There’s a palpable cadence in all that gestural, painterly motion. The rhythmic placement of vibrant color harmonies transforms the tactile reality of paint into an alluring ephemerality that seems to pulse, even dance, in shimmering, transient light.
So, Impressionism. An art “movement” indeed. Savor the dance.