'Dancing in the Light: Masterworks from the Age of American Impressionism' Exhibition Brings Together Seldom-Seen Artworks From Private and Public Collections

  • December 02, 2020 16:14

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(from left): Facade of Palazzo, Girgenti, Sicily (detail), c. 1901. John Singer Sargent (American, 1856 - 1925). Watercolor on paper, 10 x 7 inches. On Loan from a Private Collection c/o Keny Galleries. | Bleak House, Broadstairs (detail), 1889. Childe Hassam (American, 1859 - 1938). Watercolor on paper, 13 x 9 inches. Canton Museum of Art Collection.
Canton Museum of Art
Mother and Child in a Garden, France, c. 1911-12. Alice Schille (American, 1869 - 1955). Watercolor on paper, 23 ½ x 19 ½ inches. On Loan from Ann and Tom Hoaglin.
Canton Museum of Art
On the Sands, c. 1915. Edward Potthast (American, 1857 - 1927). Oil on board, 12 x 16 inches. On Loan from a Private Collection, c/o Keny Galleries.
Canton Museum of Art
Edward Potthast, Ferry Landing, ca. 1915-20. Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Atwood
Canton Museum of Art

Dancing in the Light: Masterworks from the Age of American Impressionism is a new exhibition (and catalogue) featuring works of American Impressionism, from 1878 to circa 1930, with a focus on the "uniquely American" medium of watercolor. 

The exhibition (through March 7, 2021) at Canton Museum of Art (CMA) in Ohio features paintings and works on paper borrowed from private collections, museum collections, and CMA’s own collection to tell the story of the movement of American Impressionism from its beginnings in France to the shores of America – and why it is still relevant and approachable today as one of the finest artistic periods. Several works rarely seen in public from major artists held in private collections will be featured in the exhibition.

Many think of the French Impressionists as the only Impressionists. Until they are introduced — or reintroduced — to the  American artists who likewise lit up the sun-dappled landscape, illuminated dance halls, and captured ladies at tea or casually dining on the beach. These accessible scenes are what make Impressionism in all of its forms so popular with audiences. 

CMA Guest Curator Jim Keny notes, "This is one of the most major shows to address the immensely popular subject of American Impressionism in a mid-western venue in several decades, and the first to showcase a comprehensive survey of American Impressionism highlighting the numerous masterpieces owned by Ohio collectors and regional institutions." A full-color catalogue will accompany the exhibition, available in the Museum's Artisan Boutique (tel.: 330.453.7666).

Between 1860 and 1930, Ohio was the third most populous state in the country and one of the wealthiest. Remarkably there are eight major art museums in the state and over a dozen outstanding art schools. This legacy is more substantial than that of virtually any other state outside of New York and California. Its institutional strength has attracted many superb works to the state and has also sparked the careers of many important American artists that were born or studied in Ohio. As a result, many of the finest American Impressionist paintings are currently owned by Ohio individuals and regional institutions, including masterpieces by such venerated artists as Mary Cassatt, Childe Hassam, John Singer Sargent, and James Whistler. 

This original exhibition is curated by the Canton Museum of Art and guest curator James Keny of Keny Galleries in Columbus, Ohio, which is well-known for its expertise in Ohio art and American Impressionism. Keny has guest curated over a 20 museum exhibitions devoted to various aspects of American Impressionism, including the recent In a Clear Light: Alice Schille and the American Watercolor Movement (2019) and the earlier American Impressionism: Variations on a Theme (2006), both at Columbus Museum of Art. He has also organized over 25 such shows for Keny Galleries in German Village. Mr. Keny is the contributing author of several books, including Triumph of Color and Light: Ohio Impressionists and Post-Impressionists (1994) and author to numerous scholarly articles on the subject in American Art Review. Keny has a BA from Harvard University with a concentration in Art History and Economics.

(from left): Ca d'Oro, Venice (detail), 1889. Robert Blum (American, 1857 - 1903). Oil on canvas, 16 x 24 inches. On Loan from a Private Collection c/o Keny Galleries. | Drifting with the Tide (detail), 1884. Ralph Wormeley Curtis (American, 1854 - 1922). Oil on canvas, 25 1/2 x 37 1/2 inches. On Loan from a Private Collection, c/o Keny Galleries.
Canton Museum of Art

Contributions to the accompanying catalogue and the exhibition are from Dr. William Robinson, a world-renowned art historian and expert on the American Impressionism period, currently the Senior Curator of Modern European Painting and Sculpture, 1800 – 1960, at The Cleveland Museum of Art and adjunct professor of art history at Case Western Reserve University, where he received doctorate in art history.

Tags: american art

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