All We Have Seen: Impressionist Landscapes from Monet to Kleitsch
Look out the window and you can see a landscape, whether an urban city or a rural countryside. But a landscape holds within it so much more, a field of possibilities that speaks to our desires, our needs, our culture, and more.
Heather James presents a unique exhibition of landscapes, many of which can be tied to extant places. Landscapes have fascinated artists for centuries for diverse reasons. For some, they are a meditation on aesthetic beauty; for others, they are explorations of our impact on the environment; and for others still, they are investigations into the intersections of geography, culture, and politics. Add to it the audience’s ability to apply their own interpretations, and landscapes become deep repositories that speak to us on many levels.
Perhaps one of the most important of the landscapes in this exhibition is Claude Monet’s “L’Ancienne rue de la Chaussée, Argenteuil”. The French town of Argenteuil was an important location for Monet and his fellow Impressionists and was where they achieved some of their most iconic and impactful paintings. In this Parisian suburb, they painted in the open air capturing everyday, modern life filtered through light and color. Gathered in this idyllic setting, the Impressionists could work side-by-side, stimulated by artistic and intellectual exchanges.
Suburban and rural areas were not the only sources for the French Impressionists, finding inspiration in modern urban life. Camille Pissarro, often thought of as the Father of Impressionism, rented an apartment overlooking the Tuileries Gardens in Paris. The area was fruitful and Pissarro executed a series of paintings of the gardens, with the Louvre or as in this piece, with Sainte-Clotilde in the background. Not just a beautiful cityscape, Pissarro’s painting captures the light and color of the afternoon sky over Paris.
But the French Impressionists were not the only ones inspired by nature. Their American, specifically Californian, counterparts found inspiration in landscapes. Driven by the unique environment of California, the California Impressionists pushed into new boundaries of light, color, and brushwork to capture stunning views. From Laguna Beach in Southern California to Carmel in the North, these artists include Guy Rose, William Wendt, and more. These painters clustered around, and were propelled by, artist’s colonies, creating a modern visual language based on nature and the history of California. One need only look at the two paintings of missions, Santa Barbara and San Juan Capistrano, to see the unique bent California gave to the artists. Learn more in our concurrent exhibition, “California Here We Come: The California Impressionists”.
Take a stroll through the exhibition and travel to locations around the world. Enjoy the desert heat, stroll a Parisian garden or feel the sea breeze of the California coast. Landscapes transport us emotionally and psychologically.