Harn Museum of Art Exhibition Traces Monet’s Influence on American Impressionism

Exhibition Features Work by More than Twenty American Impressionists,
Including: Mary Cassatt, William Merritt Chase, Childe Hassam, Willard Metcalf,
Theodore Robinson, and John Henry Twachtman

Iconic Works Travel From Across the United States to Harn

GAINESVILLE, FL, Jan. 8, 2015— The Harn Museum of Art at the University of Florida will display works by more than twenty American artists who launched a new way of painting in response to the influence of Monet and French Impressionism. In the late 19th century, these artists adapted the innovations of French Impressionism, and ultimately paved the way to its place as one of the most enduring styles in the history of American art. In addition to four paintings by Monet, the exhibition will present nearly fifty paintings and thirty prints dated between 1882 and 1920 by many of the leading figures in American Impressionism, such as Mary Cassatt, William Merritt Chase, Childe Hassam, Willard Metcalf, Theodore Robinson, John Henry Twachtman, and J. Alden Weir. Monet and American Impressionism will be on view from Feb. 3, 2015 to May 24, 2015. 

“The Harn is delighted to add to the scholarship and understanding of the development of American Impressionism. The exhibition and accompanying catalogue will pay particular attention to how the movement embraced aspects of social and cultural life in the United States during the period and how proponents of Impressionism in America responded to the paintings of Claude Monet—both what they embraced and what they ignored,” said Harn Curator of Modern Art Dulce Román.

The exhibition will be organized along five thematic groupings:

  • The Allure of Giverny features the Harn Museum’s Giverny landscapes by Claude Monet (Champ d’avoine) and Theodore Robinson (Afternoon Shadows) alongside loaned works by artists who were active in Giverny between 1887 and 1919, including Theodore Butler, Frederick Frieseke, Willard Metcalf, and Lilla Cabot Perry. These works explore relationships between the United States and France during the period and the American fascination with French art and culture.
  • A Country Retreat examines how American artists adapted Impressionist approaches to their paintings of distinctly American landscapes. This section will include the Harn’s landscapes by Childe Hassam, alongside loaned works by Monet and American artists John Leslie Breck, William Merritt Chase, Willard Metcalf, Edward Redfield, and John Twachtman.
  • The Vibrance of Urbanism features works by Monet that demonstrate the Impressionists’ interest in depicting scenes of modern life in the city. This section presents works by William Glackens, Childe Hassam, Jonas Lie, Gari Melchers, and Maurice Prendergast whose dynamic urban subjects celebrate the dynamism and unique character of major American cities.
  • The Comfort of Home presents domestic interiors and gardens—spaces in which women play a central role. Here, Monet’s influence can been seen in the work of American artists including Mary Cassatt, Joseph De Camp, Frederick Frieseke, Gari Melchers, Richard Miller, Edmund Tarbell, and Helen Maria Turner. Two impressionistically modeled bronzes by sculptor Bessie Potter Vonnoh are displayed in conjunction with these paintings of domestic subjects.
  • A Graphic Legacy addresses how American artists such as Frank Benson, Cassatt, Hassam, Prendergast, and J. Alden Weir translated Impressionist color and light into the print medium. These artists created etchings, drypoints, lithographs and monotypes as an outlet for fresh, creative expression and a means to expand their audience to the art-loving middle class.

“This exhibition grew out of two important works in the Harn’s own collection, Champ d’avoine (Oat Field) by Monet, and Afternoon Shadows by Theodore Robinson, which were donated by our longtime supporters Michael and Donna Singer. The juxtaposition of these paintings prompted our curiosity about the development of Impressionism in America,” said Harn Museum of Art Director Rebecca Nagy. “In addition to featuring works from the Harn’s collections, we are thrilled to bring together important loans from more than twenty-five institutions, including the National Gallery of Art, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Terra Foundation for American Art, and Brooklyn Museum to generate a strong dialogue about techniques, composition and subject matter.”

Monet and American Impressionism is organized by the Harn Museum of Art in partnership with the Telfair Museums and the Hunter Museum of American Art and is curated by Dulce Román, Curator of Modern Art at the Harn Museum. It will travel to the Hunter Museum of American Art in Chattanooga, Tennessee from June 25, 2015 through Sept. 20, 2015; and the Telfair Museums in Savannah, Georgia from Oct. 16, 2015 through Jan. 24, 2016.

A symposium titled “America and France: New Perspectives on Transatlantic Visual Culture” will be held March 19 to March 20, 2015. This academic program will address cross-cultural dialogue among American and French visual artists between 1870 and 1920, focusing on the impact on American art and culture. Nancy Mowll Mathews, Eugénie Prendergast Senior Curator Emerita of 19th and 20th Century Art, Williams College Museum of Art will be the keynote speaker for the symposium. The symposium is supported in part by the Harn Eminent Scholar Chair in Art History Program, UF School of Art and Art History, and the France-Florida Research Institute.

A fully illustrated catalogue will accompany the exhibition and will include essays by Harn Museum curator Dulce Román, Nancy Mowll Mathews, and Telfair Museums curator Courtney A. McNeil.  In addition, shorter essays by University of Florida faculty address the artistic, cultural and historical context of American Impressionism from interdisciplinary perspectives in the fields of art history, American history, French literatures, English, women’s studies, and sociology. The publication is supported by Michael A. and Donna Singer, with additional support from the University of Florida Office of Research, Bill and Hazel Hough, and the John Early Publication Endowment.

The exhibition is supported in part by the AEC Trust, the University of Florida Office of the Provost, the C. Frederick and Aase B. Thompson Foundation, Dr. Robert Thoburn, the Harn Museum 20th Anniversary Fund, the John V. and Patricia M. Carlson Program Endowment, the Londono Family Endowment, the Eloise R. Chandler Program Endowment, and the Harold Walton and Margaret Harn Goforth Endowment.

Admission to the museum is free. For more information, call 352-392-9826 or visit www.harn.ufl.edu



Member pARTy
Thursday, February 5, 6 – 8:30 p.m.

Become a Harn member and join the Harn in celebrating the opening of this new exhibition. There will be an opportunity to join at the door.

Gallery Talks
Sunday, February 8, 3 p.m.
“The Impressionist’s Eye: Selections from Monet and American Impressionism”
Dulce Román, Harn Curator of Modern Art

Saturday, March 14, 3 p.m.
“For the Love of Art”
Sophia Krzys Acord, UF Lecturer in Sociology, will lead a discussion of the changing audiences of American Impressionism and how our tastes in art shape American identity.

Sunday, April 19, 3 p.m.
“Women in Impressionism”
Melissa Hyde, UF Professor of Art History and Eric Segal, Harn Director of Education and Curator of Academic Programs will discuss images of women, as well as paintings by women, with an eye to questions about the role of gender in American Impressionist painting.

Museum Nights

Thursday, February 12, 6 – 9 p.m.
“Love + Impressionism”
Visitors will celebrate their love for the exhibition as well as family and friends by creating Valentines in preparation for Valentine’s Day. Musical performances and art activities will take place as well as tours of the exhibition in French. Museum Nights is an ongoing program made possible by the generous support of the University of Florida Office of the Provost and Student Government. Additional support on this evening is provided by the UF Center for European Studies.

K-12 Educator Workshop
Wednesday, February 18, 1:30 – 4:30 p.m.
“Impressionism and the Florida Landscape”
Educators will gain an in-depth look at Monet and American Impressionism then try out hands-on lessons with connections to standards in Visual Arts, Language Arts, Science and History. This workshop is free, but space is limited. Alachua County teachers register at the ACIIS site. Contact Brandi Breslin at bbreslin@harn.ufl.edu for more information. 

Tot Time

Tuesday, February 24, 3:30 p.m.
Friday, March 6, 11 a.m.
“Mixed Up Colors”
The museum’s youngest visitors, ages 2-4, will take an age-appropriate tour then dive into an exploration of color mixing with paint – guaranteed to be messy and fun. Parents or guardians may ensure a spot by registering online at www.harn.ufl.edu/tottimeregistration

“America and France: New Perspectives on Transatlantic Visual Culture”
Thursday, March 19: Keynote address at 6 p.m. by Nancy Mowll Mathews titled “French Light, American Light: Impressionism and Its Cultural Reflections” with a reception following
Friday, March 20: Papers will be presented from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
This academic program will address cross-cultural dialogue among American and French visual artists between 1870 and 1920, focusing on the impact on American art and culture. Nancy Mowll Mathews, Eugénie Prendergast Senior Curator Emerita of 19th and 20th Century Art, Williams College Museum of Art, will be the keynote speaker for the symposium. The symposium is supported in part by the Harn Eminent Scholar Chair in Art History Program, UF School of Art and Art History.

Family Day
Saturday, April 18, 1 - 4 p.m.
“Paint like an Impressionist”
Families with children of all ages are invited to celebrate Earth Day and take a family-friendly tour of Monet and American Impressionism. Visitors will explore natural wonders and wander outdoors to paint light and capture fleeting moments in time with all the colors of the rainbow. Claude Monet will visit the Harn’s Parisian café where families can learn French phrases together. Activities surrounding Earth Day will take place at both UF Cultural Plaza museums on this day.


Docent-led Tour
Every Saturday and Sunday, 2 p.m.
Visitors may take a docent-led tour of the exhibition. No reservations necessary. Groups of 10 people or more may schedule a tour of the exhibition by contacting 352.392.9826 x2112 or tours@harn.ufl.edu. Scheduled group tours are free but a $2 - $3 donation per person is suggested to support the work of the museum.

Audio Tour
Rich verbal descriptions of select works in this exhibition will be available for visitors with cell phones. These descriptions serve sighted and blind audiences together. Instructions are available at the Harn’s information desk.


Media Contact: Tami Wroath, Harn Museum of Art, 352-392-9826 x2116, twroath@harn.ufl.edu  


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26 Feb 2015

By Tami Wroath, Harn Museum of Art