This fall, visitors will have a rare opportunity to experience the Impressionist art movement in America through beautiful paintings that capture various locations in the South. Scenic Impressions: Southern Interpretations from the Johnson Collection will be on view at Telfair Museums’ Telfair Academy from October 13 through March 25, 2018.
Comprising almost 50 paintings created between 1880 and 1940, the exhibition traces French Impressionism’s journey to and growth in the American South. Many of the artists featured used styles including tonalism and naturalism to create artworks of an evocative nature. Their resulting paintings celebrate the southern scene as an exotic other and locale, offering refuge from an increasingly mechanized urban environment.
Paintings by approximately forty artists, including Alice Ravenel Huger Smith and Alfred Hutty,—two key figures in the Charleston Renaissance—Colin Campbell Cooper and others, are highlighted in the exhibition. Several artists represented in Telfair’s permanent collection, including Eliot Candee Clark and Hattie Saussy, are also displayed in the presentation.
Challenging traditional art systems, Impressionism grew in small French towns like Giverny and Barbizon where painterly trends emphasized nature’s subtle textures through warm color and broken brush stroke. The painting style also paved the way for modern art forms such as cubism and abstract impressionism. Scenic Impressions offers insight into this particular period of American art history by consolidating academic information on a distinct group of objects under a common theme and important global umbrella.
Scenic Impressions is organized by the Johnson Collection, Spartanburg, SC. The presentation of this exhibition at Telfair Museums is curated by Courtney McNeil, Chief Curator of Collections and Exhibitions.