Inspiring Impressionists….

I went over to the Seattle Art Museum last night to visit the new exhibition: Inspiring Impressionists.

It was fantastic! The SAM has brought in an amazing collection from these artists. They’ve done a wonderful job at grouping/pairing the paintings. You’ll be in for a real treat.

Here’s the press release.

Inspiring Impressionism: The Impressionists and the Art of the Past will shed new light on one of art history’s most important movements when it opens at the Seattle Art Museum on June 19, 2008. The first comprehensive survey to explore the influence of Old Master artists on Impressionist painters, this groundbreaking exhibition will pair masterpieces by Impressionists such as Claude Monet, Paul Cézanne, Édouard Manet, Pierre Auguste Renoir and Edgar Degas with those by artists Frans Hals, Francisco Goya and Jean-Honoré Fragonard, among others.

Inspiring Impressionism features nearly 100 works, including paintings and works on paper, drawn from more than 70 museums and private collections, some of which have never traveled to the United States. Organized by the Denver Art Museum, Inspiring Impressionism opened in Atlanta at the High Museum of Art (Oct. 16, 2007 through January 13, 2008) and subsequently traveled to the Denver Art Museum (February 23 through May 25, 2008), before its last stop at SAM. The national tour of Inspiring Impressionism is made possible by Northern Trust.

“Inspiring Impressionism offers audiences a fresh viewpoint on the Impressionist painters,” says Mimi Gates, Director of the Seattle Art Museum. “It reveals exciting new scholarship about the origins of this important period in art history.”

Inspiring Impressionism explores the ways in which these late 19th-century artists carried on a dialogue with their predecessors, while simultaneously creating the innovative style depicting modern life that came to be known as “Impressionism”. Exhibition highlights include traditional landscapes, still lifes and portraits by Old Masters such as Jean-Antoine Watteau, François Boucher, and Claude Lorrain that are shown with Impressionist works such as Monet’s Summer (1874) and Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s Confidences (ca. 1873).

Pairings like Mary Cassatt’s The Family (1893) and Bernardino Luini’s Madonna and Child with the Infant Saint John (ca. 1515-20) will show an Impressionist updating and secularization of traditional religious subject matter. The examination of Édouard Manet’s The Little Cavaliers, (copy after the original in the Louvre by the workshop of Velázquez) (ca.1859-1860) and Degas’ Visit to a Museum (ca.1879-90) will present a direct working dialogue between the Impressionists and Old Masters—a relationship often developed through artists’ study at the Musée du Louvre.

Other highlights of Inspiring Impressionism include Cézanne’s large-scale Still Life with Statuette (1894-5), a painting whose focal point is a reproduction of a 17th-century plaster sculpture of a putto. The sculpture will also be on view along with Cézanne drawings featuring the same subject. Several exquisite drawings by Degas were copied from drawings by Raphael and other Renaissance masters, reinforcing Degas’ assertion that “No art is less spontaneous than mine. What I do is the result of reflection and the study of the Old Masters.”

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