American Impressionism was a movement deeply rooted in the American soil. Artists often spurned the cities, living and working in the numerous art colonies that sprang up throughout the country in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. One of the best known of these colonies formed in 1898 on the banks of the Delaware River north of Philadelphia, centered in the picturesque village of New Hope, Bucks County. Known as the Pennsylvania impressionists, this group of artists played a dominant role in the American art world of the 1910s and 1920s, winning major awards and sitting on prestigious exhibition juries. Their work was celebrated for its freedom from European influence, and was praised by the noted painter and critic Guy Pene du Bois as "our first truly national expression."
Many of the Pennsylvania impressionists both studied and taught at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia, and their stylistic roots hearkened back to the "academy realism" practiced by Thomas Eakins and his followers. Edward Redfield was the generally acknowledged stylistic leader of the New Hope painters; his vigorously realistic, unsentimental brand of impressionism influenced several generations of artists associated with the group. However, what most characterized Pennsylvania impressionism was not a single, unified style but rather the emergence of many mature, distinctive voices: Daniel Garber's luminous, poetic renditions of the Delaware River; Fern Coppedge's colorful village scenes; Robert Spencer's lyrical views of mills and tenements; John Folinsbee's moody, expressionistic snowscapes; and William L. Lathrop's deeply felt, evocative Bucks County vistas.
Pennsylvania impressionist artwork is now widely collected, and many works in private hands are shown here, as well as the holdings of the James A. Michener Museum, recognized as the most extensive public collection. Pennsylvania Impressionism explores in comprehensive and sumptuous detail this important American movement. Principally authored by the Michener's Senior Curator Brian H. Peterson, the book contains additional essays by art historians William H. Gerdts, Professor Emeritus of Art History at the City University of New York, and Sylvia Yount, Margaret and Terry Stent Curator of American Art at the High Museum in Atlanta. Also included are biographies of more than 75 artists and extensive color reproductions of their work. Intended for both a general audience and aficionados, this book will become the principal source for information about this important branch of American impressionism.
Also of Interest—
Edward W. Redfield
Just Values and Fine Seeing
The Cities, the Towns, the Crowds
The Paintings of Robert Spencer
Brian H. Peterson