Take a Look at the Telfair's Current Exhibit!
Monet and American Impressionism highlights the work of more than 20 American artists who launched a new way of painting in response to the influence of French Impressionism.
Monet and American Impressionism
Even the most uncultured among us have at least heard his name – know of him, if not anything about him. The legacy of Claude Monet is invoked everywhere from elementary art classrooms to the halls of the Metropolitan; his work is familiar and impressive, and his art is longstanding.
But who knows what impressionism is anyway? Or Claude Monet for that matter?
Whoever Monet was, he is alive today in his many existing works – several of which are now at the Jepson Center in the exhibit “Monet and American Impressionism”. While to the seasoned artist or historian this title speaks for itself as one of the most remarkable exhibits to ever come to Savannah, the common citizen is most likely utterly uninterested. But the truth is that everyone from engineers to housewives, to zen buddhists can connect with this collection.
To appreciate the 60+ pieces featured, it is essential to understand the background of the artists and what they practiced. While each painter has their own history, one could say it all began with a simple feat of design and execution. (Listen up engineers!!!)
Enter: a little known painter, John G. Rand, the inventor of the portable paint tube.
It is this singular creation that gave Monet the capacity to produce his paintings. With the ability to transport and store paint effectively, Monet was able to spend the necessary extensive hours outside in nontraditional locations to capture the scenes that have become so famous today. And with the widespread production and use of this invention, Monet’s devoted followers, particularly those in America, could practice his style.
But what exactly was his style? It was revolutionary! In an era of exact subject duplication, and the abandonment of style in pursuit of accurate representation, Monet sought to convey feeling rather than precision. The term “impressionist”, although initially created as an insult against such painters, is accurate of their philosophy. They attempted to represent the feelings and impressions of a moment in time (Zen Buddhists might relate), and the scenes they depicted were often occurrences of daily life, involving maids, washerwomen, (or housewives), going about domestic tasks.
Americans responded to the movement with a collective creative enthusiasm unheard of today – which is part of what makes the concept so impressive. It wasn’t just a style, or an artist, or a painting, it was a literal movement. Artists like Mary Cassatt and Willard Metcalf, (both featured in the exhibit) flocked to Monet’s home in Giverny, France, to paint the same beautiful landscapes immortalized by Claude himself. French impressionist works exploded in American exhibits and artists came together in “Art Colonies” to live and work together to achieve a similar aesthetic vision.
Insightful facts like these are revealed and explored throughout Monet and American Impressionism, especially if you participate in a guided tour (which is highly recommended). If you are completely new to Impressionism, or if you just want to hear all the behind the scenes tidbits, this is a must. Take some time over the next month to make your way over to the Jepson Center and fully appreciate the art and background of this movement, but come quickly, as it will only be available until the end of January!
Guided Walk-in Tours
Fridays, October 23–January 22 | 2pm | Jepson Center