Scenic Impressions
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235 pages

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The radical changes wrought by the rise of the salon system in nineteenth-century Europe provoked an interesting response from painters in the American South. Painterly trends emanating from Barbizon and Giverny emphasized the subtle textures of nature through warm color and broken brush stroke. Artists' subject matter tended to represent a prosperous middle class at play, with the subtle suggestion that painting was indeed art for art's sake and not an evocation of the heroic manner. Many painters in the South took up the stylistics of Tonalism, Impressionism, and naturalism to create works of a very evocative nature, works which celebrated the Southern scene as an exotic other, a locale offering refuge from an increasingly mechanized urban environment.

Scenic Impressions offers an insight into a particular period of American art history as borne out in seminal paintings from the holdings of the Johnson Collection of Spartanburg, South Carolina. By consolidating academic information on a disparate group of objects under a common theme and important global artistic umbrella, Scenic Impressions will underscore the Johnsons' commitment to illuminating the rich cultural history of the American South and advancing scholarship in the field, specifically examining some forty paintings created between 1880 and 1940, including landscapes and genre scenes. A foreword, written by Kevin Sharp, director of the Dixon Gallery and Gardens in Memphis, Tennessee, introduces the topic. Two lead essays, written by noted art historians Estill Curtis Pennington and Martha R. Severens, discuss the history and import of the Impressionist movement—abroad and domestically—and specifically address the school's influence on art created in and about the American South. The featured works of art are presented in full color plates and delineated in complementary entries written by Pennington and Severens. Also included are detailed artist biographies illustrated by photographs of the artists, extensive documentation, and indices.

Featured artists include Wayman Adams, Colin Campbell Cooper, Elliott Daingerfield, G. Ruger Donoho, Harvey Joiner, John Ross Key, Blondelle Malone, Lawrence Mazzanovich, Paul Plaschke, Hattie Saussy, Alice Ravenel, Huger Smith, Anthony Thieme, and Helen Turner.



Publié par
Date de parution 16 décembre 2015
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9781611177176
Langue English
Poids de l'ouvrage 12 Mo

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,2500€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.


The Johnson Collection, LLC, 2015
The Johnson Collection
PO Box 3524, Spartanburg, South Carolina 29304-3524
David Henderson, Director
Sarah Tignor, Collection Manager Registrar
Lynne Blackman, Public Relations Publications Coordinator
Aimee Wise, Collection Assistant
Holly Watters, Collection Assistant
All rights reserved. Unless otherwise noted, all images are property of the Johnson Collection, LLC.
Copublished in partnership with the University of South Carolina Press, Columbia, South Carolina 29208.
Editor: Lynne Blackman
Photography: Carroll Foster, Hot Eye Photography, Spartanburg, South Carolina; Tim Barnwell Photography, Asheville,
North Carolina; Rick Phodes Photography and Imaging, LLC, Charleston, South Carolina
Design: Gee Creative, Charleston, South Carolina
Production: Printed in Canada by Friesens
ISBN 978-1-61117-675-9
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data can be found at
This volume accompanies the exhibition of the same title. Exhibition venues include:
Dixon Gallery and Gardens, Memphis, Tennessee
Morris Museum of Art, Augusta, Georgia
Frontispiece: Alice Ravenel Huger Smith (1876-1958), Swamp Scene , watercolor on paper, 21 x 11 inches (detail).
Cover: Hattie Saussy (1890-1978), Path with Mossy Trees , oil on canvas mounted on masonite, 18 x 26 inches (detail).
ISBN 978-1-61117-717-6 (ebook)

Lawrence Mazzanovich (1871-1959), Smoky Mountains, oil on canvas, 25 x 25 inches (detail).
IN THIS DAY OF THE EVER-PRESENT CELL PHONE CAMERA, IT MIGHT BE difficult to imagine the efforts that artists once made to record a memorable view for posterity. Preparation required far more than the overnight charging of a battery or the availability of GPS monitoring. Travel was arduous and conveniences were limited, as was a reliable clientele or lucrative commercial infrastructure, especially for painters working in the South. No, the artists presented in this study invested considerable intention to the discovery and delineation of places of particular beauty. Whether the setting was extraordinary or everyday, artists hoping to capture the moment went to great lengths to provide their patrons with scenic impressions that transcribed venue, color, and mood. The experience was a physical and tactile one, and the connection between artist and locale deeply felt. The best paintings reflect such synergy and reward the effort.
Intention, location, connection, and synergy have been driving forces in the establishment of the Johnson Collection as well. In just over thirteen years, what began as aesthetic experiment has evolved into cultural statement. To amass a collection (of any sort, really) according to well-defined parameters is fairly straightforward; it can be, at its most fundamental level, purely transactional. What sets meaningful and significant collections apart is effort: the willingness to dig deeper, to discern carefully, and to never settle. A command of the history in question is important, but personal resonance with that history is indispensable, even for a transplanted Canadian like me. In guiding the collection s acquisitions, my understanding of market conditions has been imperative, but so has the awareness that true value is often determined by far less tangible measurements than price-per-square-inch calculations and sales records. The Johnson family s vision, and fidelity to that vision, is more critical to the collection s vitality than their endowment. That they have allowed me to pursue my passion for Southern art in the collection s name has been a privilege. It has given me a proverbial second act rich with revelation and joy.
As the collection evolves, developing nuance and depth, it remains true to its original mission to advance the narrative of Southern art within the national cultural context. Scholarship on the subject is paramount, as evidenced by this, our third volume in as many years. We will continue to interpret the South and champion the cause with an eye toward making an ever clearer impression on the field of American art.
I REMEMBER A TIME WHEN WE ALMOST NEVER DISCUSSED AMERICAN Impressionist painting. The French inventors of the movement, style, and technique (or whatever it was) were so much riper in their way; their pictures just had more air in their lungs, as I heard one colleague describe the difference years ago, and I agreed. At the time, we were not entirely sure what American Impressionism was-or even if such a thing truthfully existed. When we finally did start talking about American painters of the Impressionist era-neatly avoiding the term American Impressionism, which we distrusted-they were typically the grand expatriates. We sought American artists who had opened studios or planted easels alongside their counterparts in England, Holland, or (of course) France, and had the good sense to remain there. We discussed this mere handful of painters for the longest time, and in nothing less than excruciating detail. Actually, we are still discussing them. It was only later-much later, in fact-that we became interested in the (so-called) American Impressionists, who lived their lives and managed their careers within the boundaries of the United States. We preferred them to have made at least one extended trip to Paris, or to Giverny, or both. And we were only willing to seriously consider artists who after returning from their French sojourns established themselves in New York studios or with notable Manhattan galleries, clubs, or institutions. Granted, we eventually came around to Philadelphia, Boston, and much of New England as well, but there we had to draw the line.
From the massive and magisterial book, American Impressionism (1984) by William H. Gerdts, we came to understand that there had been artists in every corner of the United States-not just the Northeast-whose paintings undeniably resembled Impressionism. By the time his Art Across America was published six years later, the number of painters he identified further afield had grown considerably (especially in Volume 2, which catalogues Southern and Midwestern artists). But how were we to account for these artists in the context of Impressionism? Some of them had never left the towns in which they were born, let alone traveled to Giverny. It was puzzling, and easier to dismiss their efforts as mimicry than to contend with it as expression. So, rather than contend, we ignored it.
It turns out that we were spectacularly and even proudly parochial in our likes and dislikes about Impressionism. It turns out that by focusing so intently on our preference for riper artists with lungs full of air, we were missing one of Impressionism s more intriguing qualities-its remarkable durability as an international style and especially its longevity in the United States. Decades after most French painters were exploring other movements, styles, and techniques, it turns out that American artists were continuing to extract expressive value from the Impressionist aesthetic. Even if they later abandoned Impressionism for something altogether different, American painters-fully two generations of them, at least-saw it as a well lit pathway toward the vanguard. And it happened border-to-border, coast-to-coast.
By the time we finally grasped that there was something compelling to say about American Impressionism-as practiced in places other than Paris, Giverny, New York, etc.-there were already very good scholars and curators, collectors, and (admittedly) art dealers discussing the subject in the context of those other places. Their animated (sometimes partisan) conversations were finding attentive listeners and particularly in and around such relevant communities as Doylestown, Pennsylvania; Charleston, South Carolina; Nashville, Indiana; Taos, New Mexico; Oakland and Laguna Beach, California; and a dozen other towns and cities, maybe more. The conversations continue to this day, and have only become more interesting over time.
All those years ago, long before we started talking about American Impressionism, the last place on earth we would have looked for signs of its existence was in the South. You see, we (many of us) labored under the false assumption that there was no history of painting, no valid or notable culture of art making, selling, or collecting in the South. We were perfectly earnest and sincere in this belief, and meant no disrespect by it. You could and should go southward for good antique furniture, for textiles, or for ceramics, we insisted, but certainly not for paintings.
When we (some of us) finally did open our eyes, we were amazed to find painters, paintings, and cultures of appreciation all across the South-in Charleston, Savannah, Atlanta, Charlotte, Birmingham, Memphis, Jackson, and New Orleans to be sure, but also in intriguing spots like Holly Springs, Mississippi; Blowing Rock, North Carolina; Augusta, Georgia; and Spartanburg, South Carolina, to name but a few. Moreover, the paintings that emerged from these politely reticent and determinedly Southern places were quite good, and they often spoke to the region in which they were made in eloquent dialects of Impressionism.
Scenic Impressions , yet another absorbing exhibition and catalogue organized by the Johnson Collection in Spartanburg, presents the indelible Southern landscape painted by native sons and daughters who worked in one variant or another of the Impressionist idiom. Almost slyly, the show also features works by painters more typically associated with Northern climes, who at least for one interval dipped their brushes into Southern sceneries and sensibilities. As an ensemble, the works in Scenic Impressions describe a region as varied and irrepressible as the Impressionist aesthetic itself. It is hard to believe we once doubted these artists and paintings existed. We do not anymore.

douard Manet (1832-1883), Le D jeuner sur I herbe [ The Luncheon on the Grass ], 1863, oil on canvas, 208 x 264.5 cm. Inv. RF1668. Photo: Benoit Touchard/Mathieu Rabeau. Mus e d Orsay. RMN-Grand Palais/Art Resource, NY.
The Larger World of
ON MAY 15, 1863, ONE OF THE MOST SIGNIFICANT ART EXHIBITIONS HELD in the nineteenth century opened at the Palais de l Industrie in Paris. This installation of paintings by artists who had been rejected from the annual Salon of the Acad mie des Beaux-Arts was popularly known as the Salon des Refus s. Among those who submitted their work were the painters douard Manet, Henri Fantin-Latour, Camille Pissarro, Alfred Sisley, and the American expatriate James Abbott McNeill Whistler. Participation in the counter-exhibition was completely voluntary, a democratic innovation conceived by the Emperor Napoleon III who announced that he wished to let the public judge the legitimacy of these claims against the official Salon, whose yearly displays were deemed, at least by the French, to be of global consequence. 1
The involvement of the republic s leader in settling a highly fractious dispute between the established academic art world and a disparate group of collectors, dealers, artists, and critics indicates both the power of the Salon to make or break an artist s reputation, and the general public s enthusiasm for the exhibition. During the haute bourgeois days of the Second Empire, tens of thousands of people attended these annual Salons. Whether those legions of would-be connoisseurs were truly interested in art is irrelevant. They understood that the Salon season was the time to see and be seen in Paris, to shop, to eat, to drink, to play, and to absorb officially sanctioned taste. 2 As manifest in the works of William Bouguereau, Alexandre Cabanel, and J an-Leon G r me, this taste reflected a preference for paintings whose solidity of form, vivid coloration, and thematic implication of moral purpose elevated them above the banalities of everyday life.
A rejection of that style was on flagrant display in the fleshy realism, bold design, and jarring color contrasts of douard Manet s Le D jeuner sur l herbe [ The Luncheon on the Grass ] ( page 10 ), the painting which attracted more attention and commentary than any other work shown at the Salon des Refus s. In Manet s densely wooded setting, four figures are seen in the aftermath of a luncheon al fresco. Manet s composition playfully recalls the high baroque organization of the planar field into foreground, mid-ground, and rear-ground, wherein figural placement is arranged to enhance perspective and establish depth. In the mid-ground, we see three figures: two men fully clothed in the attire of the day and a nude woman at their side. In the background, a woman is bathing in the forest stream. To the left in the foreground, the seated nude s clothes sit in a chaotic heap beside a tilted basket spilling the repast s remains upon the grass.
The naked woman and her companion to the right gaze out in a pleasant, casual manner which clearly acknowledges the viewer s presence. Their male companion on the right peers into the background, his arm and hand extended in a mannerist gesture giving two signals-for while he looks within, he points without. The blatant nudity in the midst of modern dress, without a trace of self-consciousness, proved outrageous to bourgeois sensibility. After touring the exhibition with the Empress Eug nie, Napoleon III deemed the painting immodest. A verbose British critic had far more to say, denouncing the wretched Frenchman who had proved that the nude, when painted by vulgar men, is inevitably indecent. 3
Manet was not without his defenders. Writing in his daily reports from the exhibition, Zacharie Astruc proclaimed Manet one of the greatest artistic characters of the time! . . . He is [the Salon des Refus s ] brilliance, inspiration, powerful, flavor, surprise. Manet s talent has a decisive side that startles. 4 mile Zola, the iconoclast novelist and a champion of the Impressionist aesthetic, thought the nudes in the painting to be inoffensive essays in natural flesh tones. 5 In a modernist moment, Zola envisioned the painting as a departure from convention and was able to simultaneously appreciate the content and technique without assessing some moral purpose by which the painting could be categorized. Ironically, like many of Manet s works, The Luncheon on the Grass draws on classical compositional sources, in this case Raphael and Giorgione. Edgar Degas later commented on this practice: Manet drew inspiration from everywhere . . . but with what marvelous handling of the brush did he not make something new of it! 6
That The Luncheon on the Grass should continue to be a difficult picture to read adds to the mystique which makes it, like Leonardo da Vinci s Mona Lisa , an enduring art historical icon. Setting aside the debate about the painting s narrative context permits us to acknowledge the work s central role in establishing one of the recurring themes of the Impressionist movement: the artist is an outsider in society whose works offer the viewing public more trenchant insight because they are drawn from inspired personal vision rather than academic consensus. After the Salon des Refus s, the supremacy of the academy was doomed. In one reading of Impressionism, the modern era begins at Manet s picnic, when a shocking painting provoked a public debate about the very role of art in society.

Jean Fr d ric Bazille (1841-1870), Summer Scene , 1869, oil on canvas, 63 x 63 inches. Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. F. Meynier de Salinelles, 1937.78. Photo: Imaging Department President and Fellows of Harvard College.
TO ACCEPT THE IMPRESSIONIST IMPULSE AS A TRULY REVOLUTIONARY MOMENT in the history of art, attention must be focused upon distinct shifts in technique and subject matter. Not only did Manet s painting contain controversial narrative elements, it was also executed in a style which detoured from fixed academic canon. As mirrored by their contemporary literary counterparts, the Impressionist artists sought to represent the essence of what they saw, unconstrained by formulaic principles of representation. Painting en plein air -or in the open air-with a heightened sensitivity to the subtle nuances of nature, particularly variances in the atmospheric reflections of sunlight, became a central element in the emerging Impressionist style. As the movement matured, several of its adherents became minutely preoccupied with the shading of light. To fully explore such subtleties, Impressionist painters developed a much more textured surface than that of more traditional practitioners and executed their work in lighter, more vibrant colors whose close harmonic values add to the sense of spontaneous expression. 7 This transition can be clearly traced in the movement s development. Manet s picnic painting still employs the use of rather heavy contrasts to suggest volume, depth, and perspective. Manet continued to carry a deep black on his palette, unlike Claude Monet, who was shocked when John Singer Sargent asked him for a bit of black while painting outdoors.

Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841-1919), Luncheon of the Boating Party , between 1880 and 1881, oil on canvas, 51 x 69 inches. The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C.
Manet s contemporary, Fr d ric Bazille, had already begun to employ more luminous color in sun-lit scenes unrestrained by sobering shadow. Descended from a family of well-to-do French wine makers, Bazille went to Paris to study medicine at his father s behest. Far more interested in literature and the fine arts, he shared studio space with the fledgling artists Monet and Pierre-Auguste Renoir at his own expense. He was philosophically aligned with the artists who participated in the Salon des Refus s, and his apartment in the Rue de la Condamine became, between 1868 and 1870, a gathering place for writers, musicians, and painters.
Bazille was passionately concerned with light and color as borne out in his last major painting, Summer Scene ( Bathers ), which was on view at the Salon of 1870, six months before his death in the Franco-Prussian War. Though executed in 1869 and debuted four years before the inaugural Impressionist exhibition-as mounted by the Soci t Anonyme des Artistes in 1874-the work is an astonishing definition of the technical and luminescent goals of the new style. Like Manet s picnic, Summer Scene is staged in a rather theatrical manner. The setting is pastoral, populated by several male figures, in poses of activity or rest in a dazzling bright field. Seen from a panoramic viewpoint, the various men spread out in a subtle horizontal spandrel defined by the curve of the river bank. Unlike Manet s work, none of the subjects directly engage the viewer. Some of the figures stem from historical sources, like the young man standing to the left, whose pose recalls the martyred form of St. Sebastian. Others-like the two men wrestling or the figure climbing from the water on the right-were drawn from actual sketches made by the artist from life. The foreshortened perspective and disengaged male figures may account for one critical determination of the undeniable strangeness. Bazille himself acknowledged this conundrum when he wrote a friend that he would arrive in Paris with a single painting, which you may find atrocious; I don t know where it s going. 8 While he may not have known where it was going, it is quite clear where he has been: outdoors.
As precursors to Impressionism per se, Manet and Bazille s paintings embody the stylistic evolution from academic studio work drawn from formulaic sources to the pleinairist interest in natural observation first pursued by the artists of the Barbizon School. While both were also caught up in the public critical debate about what was-and was not-appropriate subject matter for contemporary painting, they each still relied upon historical sources for compositional elements, particularly in figurative pose.
Following the 1874 exhibition of the Soci t Anonyme des Artistes, another critical theme of Impressionism, the portrayal of leisure time, can be detected. Growing prosperity and a continuing diminution of the hierarchical power of the aristocratic elite introduced increased leisure time to the burgeoning middle class of France s Third Republic. This evolution afforded artists the opportunity to depict individuals at rest and play, radically shifting notions of sanctioned subject matter. In the process, the heroic figures that had dominated academic art were supplanted by bourgeois men and women in the pursuit of pleasure. 9
Born to a working class family, Auguste Renoir was a rare individual in nineteenth century life: an upwardly mobile artist who overcame the limitations of his background to achieve considerable success. Renoir s charming compositions of plump, pretty pink women in ribbons and flowers invite the viewer into a world of comfort, ease, and charm, making him the most approachable of the Impressionist artists. While these very abilities have led to a tendency to dismiss him as being of less substance than Monet, Manet, or Edgar Degas, his continuity as a strong public favorite tells much about Impressionism s enduring appeal.
Of Renoir s best known works in this country, none is more familiar than Luncheon of the Boating Party . 10 A seemingly casual depiction of a boisterous gathering on the river bank, it is actually a complex composition which merges mainstream European traditions in design with revolutionary elements of light and color. The entire group of figures that occupies the area beneath the awning is confined within a rhomboid space created by the rigid angle of the promontory, enlivened by the flapping lines of the canvas fringe. A support pole in the center rear ground defines the point upon which the angular lines of the composition converge, leading the eye back and dividing the planar field into two distinct episodes. To the left, a burly man leans against the rail behind a young coquette holding up a fluffy little dog to which she coos. An abundant still life of fruit, wine, and bread crumbs attests to the midday meal the revelers have enjoyed. On the right, tight little groups are engaged in noisy, lively conversation, evidenced by the gesture of one young woman placing her hands over her ears. Interestingly, classical balance and symmetry abound. The figural group to the right is offset by the relative isolation of the two principal figures on the left, while the strategic use of red highlights to outline the figures enhances volumetric mass. Renoir s delightful compositions and seductive colors set a precedent which was easy to imitate, but difficult to match. Speaking to a specific moment in time, Renoir celebrates the arrival of leisure, relaxation, and the classless associations implicit within the makeup of the boating party.
THESE THREE ENCHANTING FRENCH PAINTINGS OFFER A VISUAL VOCABULARY of style, color, and content prefiguring the scenic impressions of various artists working in the United States. Yet, from the very moment those surging currents of change coalesced into the Impressionist movement, American artists and collectors were present. Not since legions of young American painters had flocked to Benjamin West s studio in eighteenth century London did such a rich cross-fertilization transpire. By the turn of the century, the essential themes of Impressionism had permeated the American art world to such an extent that an identifiable American Impressionism is now seen as one of the defining moments in national art history. As William Gerdts has observed, the vital potency of the Impressionist movement in American art is celebrated not only in its aesthetic legacy but in the richness, beauty, and diversity of its own pictorial achievements. 11 The powerful precedent of three American expatriate artists in particular-James Whistler, Mary Cassatt, and John Singer Sargent-would prove especially influential.
Whistler, who had been expelled from West Point by Robert E. Lee before moving abroad to pursue an artistic career, certainly qualified as a creative rebel. His entry in the Salon des Refus s, Symphony in White, No. 1 : The White Girl (1862), was a portrait of his Irish mistress, Joanna Hiffernan-an arresting and monumental work that had the distinction of being rejected by both the Royal Academy and the Parisian Salon. The Massachusetts native had much in common with the fledgling French Impressionists. Like Bazille, Whistler had studied for a while in Charles Gleyre s studio; under Gustave Courbet s influence, he experimented with pleinairism. He also shared with Manet an evolving aesthetic which considered depictions of the figure as an opportunity for expressing his color sensibilities and painterly regard for naturalistic textures. When hung at the Salon des Refus s, The White Girl proved almost as controversial as Manet s Luncheon on the Grass . Critical response ranged from assumptions that the image depicted a young bride on the night after her deflowering, stunned and dazed by the experience, to a medium whose psychic powers rendered her aloof from worldly concerns.
Manet, Whistler s fellow traveler in contemporary realism, acknowledged the American artist s influence upon his work. Though The White Girl was Whistler s first significant public success, his was a presence already quite well known in French art circles, and he proved to be one of the more significant American expatriates on the European art scene. Frederick Wedmore, the English art critic, deemed his work to be like that of the Impressionists in two respects-it aims generally to record what the eye actually sees, and not what the mind knows the eye ought to see, and likewise it addresses itself with courage and confidence to the artistic problems of modern life, and our artificial society. 12 Ultimately, Whistler s late Tonalist experiments in depicting light and air would prove inspirational for several artists essaying the Southern scene in the early twentieth century.

James McNeill Whistler (1834-1903), Symphony in White, No. 1: The White Girl , 1862, oil on canvas, 83 x 42 inches. Courtesy National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. Harris Whittemore Collection 1943.6.2.

Mary Stevenson Cassatt (1844-1926), Breakfast in Bed , 1897, oil on canvas, 25 x 29 inches. Courtesy of the Huntington Art Collections, San Marino, California.
Mary Cassatt, daughter of a wealthy Pennsylvania businessman, was an early and rare instance of the self-actualizing woman artist, the acceptance of whose work by the Salon in 1874 launched a career in France, where she would spend the remainder of her long life. In 1877, she met Edgar Degas, who became both friend and mentor, and who introduced her to the Impressionist circle. Her paintings were shown with the Impressionists in 1879, 1880, 1881, and 1886, giving her the singular distinction of being the only American-and only one of two women-included in those legendary group exhibitions.
Cassatt shared with Degas a deep interest and sure talent for pastel and for complicated printmaking techniques. Conveyed in richly glowing colors, her subject matter explored the pictorial potential of domestic scenes of everyday life-the act of pouring tea, bathing the baby, or enjoying an afternoon stroll-in a way that imbues the most ordinary of moments with a sense of reverie. In her art, Cassatt developed a feeling for individual character, natural charm and grace, for genuine sentiment as well as tenderness and harmonious accord. 13 Her choice of subject matter would find powerful echoes in the genteel Southern Impressionism of Helen Turner and Catherine Wiley. (See pages 124 and 128 .)
John Singer Sargent was surely the most virtuoso artist of the three seminal expatriates, but the least easy to categorize. Whether or not Sargent was truly an Impressionist is a matter of semantics, poised between definitions of the style as a painterly shift in craft and technique, or as a radical departure from conventions for compositional pictorialism. Best known for monumental society portraits of old English gentry and new American money, Sargent shared Manet s penchant for bravura brushwork and darker tonalities. Sargent s work also reflects an inclination for public statement and private reverie-a reflection, perhaps, of the artist s own enigmatic personality. Having spent the first part of his career in Paris, he was acquainted with both Impressionism and certain of the Impressionist artists. He seems to have met Monet at the Durand-Ruel Gallery in Paris in 1876, and during the next two decades, the artists maintained a cordial relationship. Partially inspired by Monet s example, Sargent began a series of pleinairist experiments, the results of which differed substantially from his portraiture.
In the summer of 1885, following the disastrous premiere and ensuing scandal of his suggestively alluring Portrait of Madame X (1884), Sargent abandoned life in France for England. During that summer and the next, he spent a great deal of time in the Cotswolds, where he created his pleinairist masterpiece Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose ( page 21 ). Sargent s scene depicts two young girls in white dresses lighting paper lanterns amidst a garden profuse with carnations, lilies, and damask roses, illuminated by golden twilight. It was an enormous challenge, which the artist considered a fearful, difficult subject. Impossible brilliant colors of flowers, and lamps and brightest green lawn background. Paints are not bright enough, then the effect only lasts ten minutes. 14
Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose was the sensation of the Royal Academy exhibition of 1887. British critics were divided as to whether or not the work was truly impressionistic, and if so, what that might mean. At least one reviewer considered it an example of the dab and spot school of French art. William Gerdts views the painting as a prime example of the transformational aspect of American Impressionism. Sargent s mastery could be seen to lie not in the picture s Impressionist light, color and broken brushwork, but rather in its overall decorativeness and in the subtle expressivity of the figures. This critical emphasis corresponded with the reading of Impressionism that was developing in England and which, ultimately, found its way to America. 15
Sargent s greatest admirer in the American expatriate community was the writer Henry James. James was responsible, in part, for introducing the American public to the Impressionists in an article he published in the New York Tribune on May 13, 1876. Approaching Impressionism as a counterpoint to the English Pre-Raphaelitism, he described the new movement s practitioners as partisans of unadorned reality and absolute foes to arrangement, embellishment, [and] selection. James recognized that the Impressionists were concerned with that which was inherently beautiful, not that which could be tarted up to seem beautiful. Let it alone, they say, and it will come at its own pleasure; the painter s proper field is simply the actual, and to give a vivid impression of how a thing happens to look at a particular moment, is the essence of his mission. 16 In taking up the antique argument between that which is universally acknowledged to be beautiful and that which is not, James clearly identifies the American climate of taste into which Impressionism plunged.
IF THE ESSENTIAL THEMES OF THE IMPRESSIONIST MOVEMENT CONCERN intellectual rebellion, revolutionary artistic technique, and the deliberate selection of non-traditional subject matter, then the American artistic community was ill prepared for the run. Unlike the French and English, the Americans had no established, truly national academy or entity against which iconoclastic artists could assert the social concerns of a fledgling avant-garde. 17 Without such an authority, American art also lacked a defining academic style, like that of France s Acad mie des Beaux-Arts, from which a painterly mode concerned with light, color, and broken brushwork could depart. As to choosing a more naturalistic subject matter, there the Americans may have already preceded the French. Picaresque characters were pervasive in nineteenth century literature and genre painting, giving initial American naturalism a humorous vein and a subtle substance.
What some Americans did have was money, and lots of it. Following the Civil War, the demise of traditional agrarianism and rise of modern industrialization resulted in unprecedented American wealth. The spirit of New England Calvinism, with its dire warnings of vanity and over-indulgence, became as pass as Old South infatuations with classical education and a mannered, hierarchical society. What the American nouveau riche of the late nineteenth century wanted was taste, and for this they turned to Europe. There, they found more than sufficient antiquities to haul back and admire. They also found a new painting style which happily satisfied their longing to impress: Impressionism.
Improvements in communication and transportation assuaged the American thirst to stay abreast of European trends, thus blunting the reputation for provincialism. Throughout the 1880s and 1890s, the East Coast public was privy to several major showings of recent French art. In 1883, the American Exhibition of the Products, Arts and Manufactures of Foreign Nations (known as the Boston Foreign Fair) featured works by Monet, Manet, Renoir, Sisley, and Pissaro. During that same year, J. Carroll Beckwith and William Merritt Chase organized an Impressionist exhibition under the auspices of the National Academy of Design. Proceeds from this show were contributed to the fund drive to erect a pedestal for the Statue of Liberty, further proof of Franco-American cordiality. Paul Durand-Ruel, the influential Parisian dealer, held an exhibition in New York in 1886. The fervor of this interest surely culminated during the World Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893 when Bertha Honor Palmer organized a showing of French Impressionists drawn from private collections to offset their lamentable absence from the fair s French art pavilion: in the French exhibit appeared not a single canvas from the Impressionists-at that time the most innovative and most truly native of French painters-whereas in the American exhibit could be found not only some of the best works of the native school . . . but also the works of American students of Impressionism. 18

John Singer Sargent (1856-1925), Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose , 1885-1886, oil on canvas, 68 x 60 inches. Presented by the Trustees of the Chantrey Bequest 1887. Photo Tate, London 2015.

William Merritt Chase, ca. 1900/unidentified photographer. Rockwell Kent Papers, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Indeed, American collectors were diligent in the acquisition of these works. Under Mary Cassatt s influence, Louisine Elder Havemeyer began to assemble a collection of French Impressionist paintings which eventually found its way into the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Bertha Palmer s paintings formed the nucleus of the formidable Art Institute of Chicago collection, which grew to include some of the great masterpieces of the era. Well into the twentieth century, American families like the Johnsons and Wideners in Philadelphia, and the Phillipses in Washington, D.C., purchased works which have made American public collections among the most important holdings of Impressionism in the world.
French Impressionism also appeared on the American scene at a moment when schools for teaching art were becoming established institutions. While Thomas Eakins and Thomas Anschutz at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts may not have been Impressionists as such, they shared the French interest in realism, naturalism, and the painterly mode. 19 Over time, the academy s faculty would include a roster of luminaries-Joseph De Camp, Theodore Robinson, Robert Vonnoh, and J. Alden Weir-further ratifying Philadelpia s place as polestar in the Impressionist milieu. In New York, the establishment of the Cooper Union and the Art Students League attracted influential instructors such as William Merritt Chase, Frank Vincent DuMond, Robert Reid, and others.
American teaching techniques were loosely derived from the French model. A cursory survey of biographical details of American Impressionists invariably shows some connection to the Acad mie Julian in Paris. Founded by Rodolphe Julian and conducted as yet another manifestation of the atelier system, the eponymous school was more like a teeming consortium of artists than an institution with a rigorous academic agenda. While the older academies in Paris, which the Impressionist movement soon supplanted, concentrated on the drawing of the figure from life and plaster casts, as well as the craft of laying down colors of close value in harmonic concentration, the Acad mie Julian was much less structured. Its relaxed atmosphere made it especially attractive to enterprising young artists: the teaching was flexible, and there were no restrictions; it was open every day except Sunday from eight in the morning until nightfall unlike other institutions which closed in the early afternoon. Most importantly, there were no entry requirements, and it was much frequented by foreigners, who were excluded from the official educational system, as were women of any nationality. 20
From the descriptions of noise and activity, it becomes apparent that perhaps the most valuable commodity which emerged from Julian s atelier was a raucous exchange of ideas. As painting technique moved beyond the rigid sanctions of academic composition, teaching became a matter of developing sufficient technical craft to provide a sturdy platform for idiosyncratic embellishment. George du Maurier describes the artists in this setting as animated by a certain esprit de corps, and working very happily and genially together, on the whole, and always willing to help each other with sincere artistic counsel if it was asked for seriously, though it was not always couched in terms very flattering to one s self-love. 21
As the most prominent American teacher, William Merritt Chase was able to foster and perpetuate this atmosphere by the power of his flamboyant personality. Charismatic, nattily dressed, and perennially supportive, he did much to elevate the profession to a degree of social acceptance and even dignity. His preoccupation with status and productivity were entirely in accord with the American spirit. Chase had little difficulty in eliciting a sincere endeavor on the part of his pupils, whom he claimed generally had a strong desire to become real painters, with ambition to excel, but above all, with ambition to do work of permanent value. 22
UNTIL 1883, CLAUDE MONET PURSUED A SOMEWHAT ITINERANT EXISTENCE, working intermittently in Paris, Argenteuil, and V theuile, experimenting with light in landscape painting, while sustaining an interest in still life and the figure. Though his painting Impression, soleil levant [ Impression, Sunrise ] ( page 25 ) had given the entire movement a name, he was never an ardent member of any group. His pictures were hung in the Soci t Anonyme des Artistes exhibition of 1874, but thereafter he largely operated on his own. The considerable impact he exerted on two generations of American and French painters derived entirely from the respect that artistic community accorded his masterful approach to light, shadow, and color, and not from any role he played as a teacher or the convivial centerpiece of some extended atelier.
After 1880, the dealer Durand-Ruel began to have increasing success selling Monet s pictures, securing the artist sufficient income to relieve his economic anxieties. In 1883, Monet moved to Giverny, a small village some forty miles northwest of Paris on the east bank of the River Seine, where he lived until his death in 1926. By 1890, he had purchased his rented house; three years later, he undertook a massive landscaping project, creating a garden whose ambience-part Japanese, part romantic abandon-provided subject matter for his most iconic works: the monumental paintings of lily ponds, flowering arches, and the curvilinear bridge spanning the stream he diverted for his flowering basins.
Once settled in Giverny, Monet seems to have found the perfect terrain for his probing depictions of natural light at various times of the day. Daniel Wildenstein, one of his major biographers, notes that
to paint what was reflected in the water, the movement of leaves before the light, the mist veiling the sun, a sunset or sunrise, Monet had only to follow the natural slope of the land from his house to the fields and meadows laced by water and trees. There the landscape, shimmering in the iridescent light, was constantly changing, and the hills-depending on the weather-seemed alternately purple and blue, close and far away. It was Impressionism at its purest, registered instantaneously in a natural setting that was always new and endlessly absorbing. 23
Like the American Luminists, Monet sought to paint what he saw with a sensitivity and expressiveness entirely compatible with Impressionist notions of the veracity of distinctly personal observation. Preoccupied with infinitesimal changes in light, he began a series of series: poplars on the river bank from dawn to dusk, the front of Rouen Cathedral glancingly resistant to the brilliance of light, supernal haystacks coming to earth with a mysteriously powerful presence, and mists on the Seine.
Giverny quickly became a teeming mecca for American artists flocking to France on cultural pilgrimage. By 1887, an art colony had been established in the village, and, over the next forty years, it remained an American outpost, attracting scores of notable expatriates, including J. Carroll Beckwith, John Leslie Breck, William de Leftwich Dodge, Frederick Frieseke, Ellen Day Hale, Richard Miller, Lawton Parker, Pauline Palmer, Lilla Cabot Perry, Louis Ritter, and Blondelle Malone ( page 98 ) among others. Monet s presence in the community provided a sympathetic, rather than a pedagogical, inspiration. He refused to take pupils, rarely gave interviews, and when questioned concerning technique would bark back: Paint from nature! Certainly none of the first Americans painting in the Giverny environs were concerned with the more subtle nuances of light and air, although most of them were at least in the process of becoming aware of the importance and potential of pleinairism. Actually, the village seems to have become an extension of the fertile bonhomie of the Parisian atelier, a place where expatriate Americans could lead a bohemian life in an atmosphere sympathetic to their experimentation and development as painters. 24
Still, the shadows of Giverny fell far across American art, finally coming to rest in the decided preference of many of the Southern Impressionists for scenes cast in a warm, evocative late light. While they may not have been purist practitioners of the Giverny mood, they do summon its spirit. That they willfully created what Monet sought to sensitively observe is a subtlety requiring a considered reassessment of the communication of style to Southern painters, as well as a careful evaluation of the uses to which that style was deployed. If Southern Impressionism has a unique character, then it may be seen to proceed from the use of local color to represent a place and a culture existing outside the prevailing national pattern. Today, the regional distinctions of the early twentieth century seem quite remote. But they were surely in place, and compatible with, the era in which painters of the Southern scene created a particular and powerful body of Impressionist art.

Claude Monet (1840-1926), Impression, soleil levant [ Impression: Sunrise ], 1872, oil on canvas, 18.9 x 24.8 inches. Mus e Marmottan Monet, Paris, France/Bridgeman Images.

John Ross Key (1837-1920), View of Washington from Arlington, circa 1908, oil on canvas, 36 x 60 inches.
That Are Charming
REPRODUCTIONS OF FRENCH IMPRESSIONIST masterworks can be seen almost anywhere these days-in doctors offices, motel rooms, and college dormitories. The popular taste for these accessible and generally pleasing paintings is ubiquitous. More than one hundred and forty years after Impressionism s debut, many forget that such widespread acceptance was not always the case. When French Impressionism emerged around 1870, its practitioners were viewed-by outraged critics and a suspect public-as technically undisciplined revolutionaries. Instead of creating art that served historical events and personas or honored religion, they promoted art for art s sake. In America, where there was less of an allegiance to an entrenched status quo, the concept of an art detached from lofty agendas was more readily accepted. Many of the artists profiled in Scenic Impressions embraced other central tenets of Impressionism: light-filled natural settings loosely painted in high-key colors with visible brushstrokes, fluidity of form, and an emphasis on atmospheric transience. A scenic impression is the evocation of something viewed, rather than its literal transcription. In terms of subject matter, it is most frequently a landscape, but can also extend to a figurative composition set outdoors. The artist s experience-his or her impression of the scene at hand-is paramount. The end result, as the popular and prolific American Impressionist Childe Hassam opined, is some things that are charming. 1
American landscape painting had come of age with the Hudson River School in the years before the Civil War. The South, where portraiture dominated art patronage, was slower to embrace representations of the countryside. This seeming lack of interest was not for want of beautiful scenery, but simply reflected a different attitude toward it. Northern painters such as Thomas Cole, Frederic Edwin Church, and Albert Bierstadt preferred pristine wilderness and spectacular vistas, and often recorded such views with moralistic underpinnings. By contrast, the works considered here reflect a blossoming appreciation for Southern locales rendered in a great variety of styles ranging from the romantic realism of the Barbizon School to Post-Impressionism. This sampling begins with examples from the decade of the 1880s, which corresponds to the declining popularity of the Hudson River School. So familiar today in American art history texts, this misleading appellation-there was never a school with teachers or a prescribed curriculum-was not employed until 1877, when it was meant as a derogatory allusion to dark and gloomy paintings. 2 Coincidentally, only three years earlier another art historical designation, Impressionism, was invented in Paris as an insulting reference to a group of painters who did not delineate every detail, emphasizing instead the visual impact of color and light.
THIS SELECTION OF ARTISTS FROM THE JOHNSON COLLECTION INCLUDES NATIVE Southerners who recorded both their own terrain and places faraway, as well as painters who explored the region, whether as cultural wayfarers or seasonal residents. As a result, a varied assortment of individual approaches is presented. One of the most scenic and iconic images is View of Washington from Arlington by John Ross Key, its landmarks-the Washington Monument and the United States Capitol Building-bathed in rosy light. Reflections in the Potomac River and the rolling, verdant topography in the foreground reinforce the painting s artistry. Modern viewers are treated to a nostalgic glimpse of the country s capital city before multiple bridges, bustling traffic, and suburban sprawl.
North Carolina native Elliott Daingerfield developed a distinctive technique of layering varnish and pigment for his moody landscapes, which bring to mind the French painters of the Barbizon School. He earned the sobriquet the American Millet -a reference to painter Jean-Fran ois Millet who was popular for his quasi-religious peasant subjects in rural landscapes. Madonna and Lamb features just such a pastoral figure, and its earth-toned palette and quiet rustic setting are reminiscent of the Barbizon aesthetic. In 1910, Daingerfield accompanied other artists to the Grand Canyon as guests of the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railroad. Their assignment was to depict the dramatic scenery of the canyon in paintings that could be used to attract tourists. Much like Bierstadt s earlier imposing depictions of Yosemite and other Western sites, Daingerfield s Grand Canyon canvases are romantically envisaged and evoke the awe he felt during his visits. (See page 69 .)
More directly related to the Barbizon region is Hiver en For t de Fontainebleau [ Winter in the Forest of Fontainebleau ] ( page 49 ) by George Aid, a canvas painted in the very woods that gave birth to France s native school of landscape painting in the 1830s. Large moss-covered boulders dominate a wintry scene whose chill is evident and relieved only by touches of pink in the background. Aid, who spent several years in France prior to World War I, was one of the many Americans who gravitated to the region. For example, Ruger Donoho frequented the small village of Grez-sur-Loing, south of the forest, during his seven years abroad. He painted several pictures there that were accepted for the Paris Salon, the most prestigious exhibition venue in the world at that time. When he returned to the States, Donoho settled in East Hampton on the eastern tip of Long Island, about one hundred miles from Manhattan. There, he discovered the appeal of simple farms reminiscent of the French countryside. Ploughmen in a Fenced Field ( page 73 ) reveals Donoho s pleasure in his new surroundings and his appreciation for an unindustrialized way of life.

John Elliott Parker Daingerfield (1859-1932), Madonna and Lamb, 1892, oil on canvas, 22 x 40 inches.
In East Hampton, Donoho was reunited with his former Acad mie Julian classmate Childe Hassam, who spent time on Long Island almost every year from 1906 until his death. Under his friend s influence, Donoho soon turned his attention to flower-filled gardens. Hassam was a key figure in the development of American Impressionism, having imported the innovative French style to New York art circles. And while he was never a teacher, his spirit of collegiality helped to advance an appreciation for sun-saturated canvases with bright palettes and conspicuous brushwork. Living in the Montmartre section of Paris between 1886 and 1889, Hassam frequently painted his picturesque environs. His watercolor, The Flower Seller ( page 30 ), is an early example of his penchant for vibrant scenes featuring women and flowers, a subject he pursued for the rest of his life. Years later, Hassam became an active member of the art colony at Old Lyme, Connecticut, a summer destination for many artists working in an Impressionist mode. These seasonal inhabitants shared in the hospitality of Florence Griswold, lodged in her boarding house, and enjoyed escaping the city to paint the unspoiled surrounds.
Harry Hoffman went to Old Lyme in 1902 to study with Frank Vincent DuMond, an Art Students League instructor who conducted the Lyme School of Art during the summer. DuMond emphasized painting en plein air -in the open air-a practice Hoffman enthusiastically adopted and applied to such canvases as Street Scene, Savannah, Georgia ( page 85 ), where light reflects off the pavement and colorful buildings. His handling of paint is decidedly impressionistic, especially noticeable in the overhanging trees. Hoffman first traveled to Savannah in 1914, when his friend and fellow Old Lyme resident William Chadwick was apparently also there. Chadwick returned a decade later as an instructor hired by the Savannah Art Association, which held its classes at the Telfair Academy of Arts and Sciences. Like Hoffman, Chadwick responded to the brilliance of Southern winter light, as seen in his painting of the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist. (See page 55 .) Eliot Clark also taught for the Savannah Art Association in the 1920s, but responded to the historic city very differently. Instead of the lively streetscapes depicted by Hoffman and Chadwick, Clark s approach was very muted, emphasizing subtle hue variations in a manner usually called Tonalist. Years later, Clark explained his reaction to his time in Savannah: The evening light was particularly beautiful. I made a number of pictures in different light and aspects of the harbor. The winter in Savannah was mild and pleasant and what impressed me as a painter was the soft enveloping atmospheric light quite different from the contours and strong shadows of New England. This sylvan light formed the background of the Savannah mood. 3

Frederick Childe Hassam (1859-1935), The Flower Seller, between 1886 and 1889, watercolor, gouache, and pencil on paper, 15 x 25 inches.
IN ADDITION TO HASSAM, WILLIAM MERRITT CHASE IS CREDITED WITH THE widespread acceptance of Impressionism in America. Both were members of The Ten American Painters, a loosely organized group of artists who exhibited together over a period of twenty years. Based in New York and Boston, The Ten shared an impressionistic aesthetic and lobbied against dull, uninspired exhibitions. During the 1880s, Chase made several trips abroad where he was exposed to the old masters in museums, as well as to the emerging and somewhat controversial style known as Impressionism. A successful portraitist, Chase was also a popular and dedicated teacher, serving on the faculties of both the Art Students League and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. He conducted his own school in New York City and, from 1891-1902, held summer sessions at Shinnecock, near Southampton on Long Island, where the focus was on painting outdoors. Mississippian Kate Freeman Clark was one of his most devoted disciples, taking courses with him at the New York School of Art and participating in six summer sessions on Long Island. Her cheerful, broadly brushed landscapes reflect his prescribed approach to plein air painting. (See page 61 .) Chase encouraged his students to examine work by other artists: Be like a sponge, ready to absorb all you can, he told them. I have been a thief; I have stolen all my life-I have never been so foolish and foolhardy as to refrain from stealing for fear I should be considered as not original. 4
Chase was a teacher extraordinaire, who eschewed the convention of drawing from antique casts and urged his students to excel at drawing from life. Decrying specialization, he stressed fundamentals and technique. Many of America s best-known artists attended his classes, eventually developing their own styles and reputations. Georgia O Keeffe took a still life class from him at the League in 1907, earning his admiration and an appointment as class monitor. She described her experience: Every day we had to paint a new still life. Then once a week William Merritt Chase came in to criticize. . . . There was something fresh, and energetic and fierce and exacting about him that made him fun. 5 Although O Keeffe had moved toward her singular abstracted vision by 1915, she always valued Chase s scrutiny of individual objects.
Another artist, George Bellows, enrolled in classes with Chase at the New York School of Art in 1904; soon afterward, Chase was instrumental in persuading his young prot g to abandon illustration for painting. Bellows later rejected much of his teacher s approach, but retained the open brushwork that was a hallmark of Chase s style and of the Ashcan School painters with whom Bellows was affiliated. Heeding Chase s advice, Bellows taught for a time, at the League and in 1908 at the University of Virginia s summer session. While there, he painted the remarkably animated and uncharacteristically happy landscape, Footpath Virginia ( page 33 ). Almost indecipherable in the lush, painterly scene are two women, shown carrying parasols as they cross a narrow bridge; one of them might be a Miss Bowles, one of Bellows students to whom he gave the painting. 6
Following the closure of the Shinnecock program, Chase escorted groups on trips abroad that combined painting lessons with visits to museums; these, too, were a resounding success. Wayman Adams, mainly a figurative painter and portraitist, joined Chase in Florence in 1910. Guided by Chase, as well as his other mentor Robert Henri, Adams developed a method for working alla prima -without preparatory studies. It became a hallmark of his technique, which is brilliantly illustrated in The Three Graces ( page 47 ), an intimate portrayal of three beribboned young girls seated at a doorway. The small work resembles a hastily executed plein air sketch, although Adams deemed it worthy of a signature. Clearly, Adams took Henri s recommendation to paint like a fiend when the idea possesses you. 7 Another of Chase s students at the League was Clara Weaver Parrish, who produced a similarly diminuitive, briskly painted sketch titled The Flower Garden ( page 105 ). Bold brushstrokes and vivid colors appear to dance across the surface of the wood panel, a support conducive to painting en plein air .
In 1913, Dixie Selden attended a class Chase conducted in Venice. Impressed by her instructor s dapper dress and charismatic personality, she described his appearance glowingly to a reporter: white flannel suit, white spats, white Panama hat with its lavender veil wound about it, his monocle, fantastic rings and his dramatic manner of criticism. A genteel Southern woman in her mid-forties who had no wish to be a voyeur, Selden had been hesitant about painting in public, but under Chase s tutelage, she became more comfortable doing just that. In addition, he encouraged her to forego her preference for dark tones, enliven her palette, and lay her paint down densely. (See page 115 .) Selden s new freedom and energy was recognized by the same reporter: She was greatly influenced [by him]. . . . This was a phase in which she was absolutely original and one in which her joyous personality came forth unfettered and clear cut. 8
SUCH EDUCATIONAL SOJOURNS TO EUROPE WERE HARDLY NEW. SINCE THE LATE eighteenth century, aspiring American artists had enjoyed travel and study on the continent. In the nineteenth century, they enrolled at schools in Munich, D sseldorf, and Paris, where training foreign students was a profitable industry. One student at the atelier of Thomas Couture wrote a most enthusiastic appraisal that was published in The Crayon in 1857:
As to Paris, there is no doubt of its being the greatest city in the world: there is the least annoyance of any kind here that can be found anywhere. The city is clean and healthy. Everything is attended to, and the comfort of the individual is well attended to. . . . Paris is a city of Art; you see evidences of taste and cultivation everywhere; in the houses and their decorations, inside and out; in the gardens and public places; in the numerous statues, and fountains, and bridges, and streets. Paris is very brilliant at night, especially upon the Boulevards. We often take long strolls after supper up and down these thoroughfares, and through the brilliantly-lighted passages, where are displayed the most attractive goods of every description.
In the afternoons we generally go to the Louvre until four o clock, at which hour it closes, and then walk to some of the gardens, or turn over the many portfolios of engravings to be found along the quays opposite the Louvre and Tuileries. . . . The Louvre alone is a good six months work to study. 9
The Acad mie Julian welcomed American students in droves, including women who were taught separately and paid twice the fees of their male counterparts. The daily schedule was intense, beginning early with many hours devoted to drawing live models and plaster casts of ancient sculptures. Instructors typically visited classes only once a week to conduct critiques. William Bouguereau, Tony Robert-Fleury, and Jules-Joseph Lefebvre-all of whom tended to paint conventional canvases of allegorical and historical themes dominated by beautiful, often nude, women-were the most popular teachers. These academicians dominated the annual Paris Salon exhibitions where displays of five thousand pieces were not uncommon. Acceptance by the Salon was a critical milestone for many artists. Hassam, a student at the Acad mie Julian during the late 1880s, however, had major reservations about the French system of art education: It is nonsense. It crushes all originality of the growing men. It tends to put them in a rut and it keeps them in it. Instead, he advocated painting contemporary subjects naturally and was pessimistic about his fellow countrymen who trained in Paris. But as long as a crowd of apostates from America who have more money than brains continue to go to France to study for such a long time, . . . there will be little growth of an American school. 10

George Wesley Bellows (1882-1925), Footpath Virginia, 1908, oil on canvas, 16 x 20 inches.
Like Donoho, Aid, and Hoffman, Willie Betty Newman attended the Acad mie Julian, but, in contradiction to Hassam s implication about rich Americans, led a very frugal existence in Paris for an entire decade. Nevertheless, her art prospered and gained early recognition at the Salon, where it was regularly exhibited between 1891 and 1900. During summer months, she frequently traveled to Brittany, a quaint setting for her impressionistic landscapes and genre scenes laced with religious overtones. As French Poplar Trees in the Mist ( page 103 ) testifies, Newman was aware of the work of Claude Monet, who immortalized the tall columnar trees in so many of his canvases. Monet also cast a spell on Blondelle Malone, whom he invited to paint in his famous garden at Giverny-an ideal opportunity for a painter acclaimed as the garden artist of America. (See page 98 .) Flush with excitement, Malone wrote her parents about her experience with the famous French painter: He refuses to see every one-especially Americans and artists and he is quite right. . . . He told me he did not like to see people and I was the only one he had received in years. I asked him why he received me and he was interested. . . . The interview was more a confirmation of what I had thought and heard than anything else. He told me to keep on and paint as I see and not as others paint, not to be influenced. Our opinions seemed to agree on everything. 11 Like many female artists of the day-and unlike Newman who had left her husband-Malone remained unmarried, a status that allowed her to pursue art and travel extensively.
William Posey Silva also studied at the Acad mie Julian, matriculating in 1909 when he was in his late forties and well after Impressionism had gained widespread acceptance. Leading a peripatetic lifestyle, Silva spent a good deal of time in the South-New Orleans, Savannah, and Charleston-before settling in California. His best-known landscapes, a series Silva titled In the Garden of Dreams , were poetic representations of Southern gardens rife with Spanish moss and colorful vegetation. A late painting, Cabins, South Carolina Low Country ( page 117 ), done in the midst of the Depression, is less romantic than many of his other canvases. Three former slave cabins alternate with stark leafless trees, while a lone African American proceeds along a fence.
NOT EVERYBODY, HOWEVER, WANTED TO STUDY ABROAD. ALICE RAVENEL HUGER Smith is a classic example of an artist who stayed home and mined her surroundings for stimulating subject matter. Throughout her long life, she lived in the same house in the historic district of Charleston, South Carolina. Essentially self-taught, she studiously immersed herself in an extensive collection of Japanese prints from the Ukiyo-e School and absorbed many of those artists stylistic tenets, clearly evident in her watercolor, Swamp Scene ( page 42 ). Its verticality, subdued tones, and sensitivity to nature are hallmarks of her Japonisme. While in her thirties, she benefited from the presence of Birge Harrison, who began to spend winters in Charleston in 1908. Although their relationship was informal, it was fortuitous. A Tonalist, Harrison shared with Smith a passion for nature and atmospheric effects, characteristics enhanced by his use of pastel in Sunburst at Sea ( page 81 ). When she asked him to take her on as a student, he demurred. In her autobiography, Smith recalled a discussion they once had: Why do you choose such hard subjects, Mr. Harrison would say.
Because everything is so hard, there isn t any difference.
Why do you always put moss in your pictures? I have looked at it with a view to painting it, and it really is unpaintable.
But, Mr. Harrison that is what I think of snow. I have never lived with snow and you have never lived with moss. 12
In addition to providing Smith with encouragement and casual critiques, Harrison was instrumental in persuading his prot g Alfred Hutty to visit Charleston. Harrison had been Hutty s mentor at the Woodstock, New York, summer school he conducted for the Art Students League. Hutty became so enthralled with the Southern city that he divided his time between Charleston in the winter and Woodstock in the summer for forty-five years. Unlike Harrison who did not comprehend moss, Hutty embraced it as an important aesthetic device that complemented the trees he loved to depict, as demonstrated by his large, almost expressionist canvas, In Magnolia Gardens ( page 36 ).
Hutty became an important force in the cultural reawakening known as the Charleston Renaissance, a movement that took shape between 1915 and 1940, and was fueled by visual artists, preservationists, and writers. He painted the dilapidated conditions of many downtown structures as exemplified by Backstage ( page 89 ), an unidealized view from an alleyway. Such images became popular, and Hutty often made related versions in drypoint ( page 88 ), a technique he took up as a member of the Charleston Etchers Club. Well before his arrival, Alice Smith had played a seminal role in arousing an appreciation among her fellow Charlestonians for their city s rich architectural heritage. Another Charleston native, Elizabeth O Neill Verner, joined Smith in efforts to revitalize the city, and gradually the area became a bustling tourist destination. Writers such as DuBose Heyward and Julia Peterkin likewise contributed their energies and, through their novels, brought positive attention to South Carolina s Lowcountry. Northerners migrated south to enjoy the mild climate, springtime azalea festivals, and excellent duck hunting at former rice plantations. City and country properties were restored, hotels were built, and the overall economy improved. In addition to Harrison and Hutty, other artists of national repute became entranced by Charleston, including Hassam, Edward Hopper, Colin Cooper, and Wilson Irvine.
Both Cooper and Irvine selected a quintessential Charleston landmark, St. Philip s Church, as the subject of their paintings. (See pages 63 and 93 .) Although they typify American Impressionism, these paintings are distinct in their handling and viewpoints. Cooper rendered the church in an unusual medium-gouache on canvas-which lends the picture a light and airy feeling. The church is viewed from the historic graveyard across Church Street; in the foreground, Cooper has emphasized the geometric shapes of the tombstones with blocky brushstrokes in a manner reminiscent of the Post-Impressionist French painter Paul C zanne. Irvine s composition appears more formal, due to his practice of viewing his subjects through a prism, which tends to refract color and light in a distinctive manner. By depicting the structure from the north, looking south on Church Street, Irvine creates a vista that stresses the imposing porticos of the neoclassical building. The truncated tower only serves to reinforce the visual weight of the structure, which is alleviated slightly by the presence of two African American figures, a device frequently employed by both local and visiting artists.

Alfred Heber Hutty (1877-1954), In Magnolia Gardens , circa 1945, oil on canvas, 32 x 40 inches.

Anthony Johannes Thieme (1888-1954), Entrance to Magnolia Gardens in Spring, Charleston, SC, oil on canvas, 30 x 36 inches.
A native of the Netherlands who had studied in Germany, Anthony Thieme was another artist from off -in Charleston parlance-who discovered the South s charms. Following an initial trip in 1928, he spent even more time in the Carolina Lowcountry in the mid-1940s. By that time, the ancient plantations along the Ashley River had been transformed into picturesque tourist destinations, especially in the spring when the azaleas were in bloom. Magnolia Plantation and Gardens was perennially popular, having opened to visitors shortly after the Civil War, when travelers arrived by paddle steamer on the river. Artists were particularly welcomed, and Magnolia was a favorite setting for Hutty, Silva, and Thieme. Locals enjoyed taking guests to the gardens, as Harriet Porcher Stoney did in March 1918: I love to go there with people who have never seen it before, and then when they stand struck absolutely adjectiveless by the wonder of the place I look on with the air of one who would say, Yes, this is the way we raise things in South Carolina. As for me though, I am just as speechless as I can never remember from one visit to the next just what a mass of glory the whole place is. 13 Thieme captures much of the splendor-as well as the apparent humidity-in his canvas, Entrance to Magnolia Gardens in Spring, Charleston, SC ( page 37 ).
URBAN CENTERS LIKE SAVANNAH AND CHARLESTON WERE NOT THE ONLY destinations to attract Northern artists to the region. Midwesterners in particular found much to admire in the mountains of western North Carolina at a time when the area was becoming recognized for the beauty of its terrain, fall color, and temperate climate. One of the first such designated preserves in the eastern United States, the Pisgah National Forest derived much of its acreage from land that once belonged to George Vanderbilt II, owner of the Biltmore estate and its palatial chateau. Great Smoky Mountains National Park, incorporating parts of the Appalachian mountains of Tennessee and North Carolina, was chartered in 1934. These large tracts of rugged virgin territory attracted Rudolph Ingerle, a Chicago artist who developed such a specialty with his mountain scenes that he became known as the Painter of the Smokies. In so doing, Ingerle believed that he played a modest role in the effort to set aside the Smokies as a national park. Ingerle s painting of a rustic cabin surrounded by an autumnal blaze of foliage, Sunday Afternoon , may be a tribute to the painter s literary counterpart, Horace Kephart, whose volume Our Southern Highlanders documented his experiences living in the mountains of western North Carolina. The tall central figure with a walking stick and high boots wears a broad-brimmed hat not unlike the one that the writer usually donned. Like Ingerle s paintings, Kephart s book is credited with inspiring the founding of the park. His reverential descriptions reveal his enthusiasm: I loved of a morning to slip on my haversack, pick up my rifle, or maybe a mere staff, and stride forth alone over haphazard routes, to enjoy in my own untutored way the infinite variety of form and color and shade, of plant and tree and animal life, in that superb wilderness that towered there far above all homes of men. 14

Rudolph Frank Ingerle (1879-1950), Sunday Afternoon, 1929, oil on canvas, 48 x 52 inches.

Emma Josephine Sibley Couper (1867-1957), Fishermen s Conversation, circa 1925, oil on canvas, 30 x 34 inches.
Nestled further south in the foothills is the small town of Tryon, North Carolina, the home of a burgeoning seasonal art colony in the early decades of the century. Lawrence Mazzanovich settled there in 1923, remaining year-round until his death. Like Ingerle, he had taken classes at the Art Institute of Chicago, but had lived in Connecticut since 1909; his move south is typically explained as a needed escape from an overbearing wife and the demands of his routine in the Northeast. In Tryon, he found the relaxed atmosphere and scenery very agreeable; as time went on, his depictions of the nearby mountains became progressively post-impressionistic, with an emphasis on forms and shapes, rather than the fleeting effects of light. In Smoky Mountains ( page 6 ), the tactile paint handling and tall pine in the right foreground serve to flatten the composition in a manner that recalls C zanne s paintings of Mont-Sainte-Victoire in southern France. Another artist with ties to Connecticut was native-born Chauncey Ryder, who had also studied at the Art Institute of Chicago. He loved mountains and spent years exploring them from his home base in New Hampshire; about 1920, he discovered the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. Gateway to North Carolina ( page 109 ) is dominated by a spacious path, which invites the viewer into the scene. Its title implies that the route leads from one state into another. The painting, however, has an alternate title, Gateway North , which indicates that the vista is toward the north. This confusion may derive from Ryder s dealer who habitually changed titles in the hope of promoting sales. Like Mazzanovich and Ingerle, Ryder used bold forms rendered in blocky, broad brushstrokes.
FROM THE 1880 S ONWARD, THE NUMBER OF ASPIRING WOMEN ARTISTS INCREASED exponentially. Renowned for his egalitarian attitude, Chase routinely encouraged female students. Women were also welcomed at the Acad mie Julian, where their fees-double the men s rate-were an important source of revenue. Other art schools and instructors were favorably disposed toward women; both Selden and Newman flourished at the McMicken School of Drawing and Design (later the Cincinnati Art Academy) under the tutelage of Thomas Noble. Josephine Sibley Couper studied several summers with Hugh Breckenridge at his Gloucester, Massachusetts, school. The experience was transformative for Couper; her brushwork became more emphatic and her palette brightened considerably. Akin to Selden in Venice and northern France, she responded to summer light reflecting off water as pictured in Fishermen s Conversation , a scene painted near Gloucester s harbor.
Summer learning experiences were critical to other women as well. Catherine Wiley, who had studied with Chase at the Art Students League, spent the summer of 1912 in Cos Cob, Connecticut, receiving instruction from Robert Reid. A member of The Ten, Reid specialized in decorative paintings of women in sunlit settings surrounded by flowers. Wiley s Lady with Parasol ( page 129 ) is very much in keeping with Reid s oeuvre: the subject s wistful expression shaded by her hat, the profusion of colorful blooms, and bright light reflecting off her white dress all correspond to Reid s work. Wiley herself was very involved in art education at her alma mater, the University of Tennessee, where she taught art in the home economics department. Many of her models appear to be her female students.
For many years, Helen Turner instructed women at the Young Women s Christian Association in Manhattan. Courses in costume and clothing design prepared these students for careers in fashion and journalistic illustration at a time when women were entering the work force in greater numbers. Turner, like Wiley and Reid, frequently portrayed women outdoors, and her models are often shown in quiet feminine pursuits: examining a Japanese lantern, sewing, or playing a guitar as the woman does in A Song of Summer ( page 125 ). Instead of full sunshine, Turner typically cast her sitters in dappled light, an approach that creates interesting patterns of lights and darks. Many of these canvases were executed on the porch of her house at Cragsmoor, an art colony ninety miles northwest of New York City. In 1906, a journalist described the place as a harmonious community . . . active-minded and deeply interested in the best art, literature, drama and music. . . . These people have seen the world far and wide, yet they find the charms of Cragsmoor undimmed by comparison. 15

Alice Ravenel Huger Smith (1876-1958), Swamp Scene , watercolor on paper, 21 x 11 inches.
The Clothesline ( page 71 ) by William de Leftwich Dodge is thematically very different. Dodge eschews the delicate and contemplative women depicted by Wiley and Turner for a smiling, muscular figure who removes items from a clothesline while staring pointedly at the viewer. Colorful swirling shapes surround her, and the crumpled fabrics in her workbasket compose a virtual essay in abstraction. Complementing this strong image are the vigorous brushwork and intense contrasts of bright light and deep shadow. Dodge was an accomplished muralist, completing major commissions such as his allegorical decorations for the Library of Congress. Accustomed to working on a large scale, the artist recognized that his paintings needed to be read from a distance. In keeping with his methodology, The Clothesline , an easel painting, exudes its own monumentality.
While Wiley and Turner spent many years teaching women, the most dynamic program for female students was at Sophie Newcomb College, the women s coordinate of Tulane University in New Orleans. Under the leadership of Ellsworth Woodward, Newcomb emerged as a vibrant center for training women in such practical artistic pursuits as pottery, textile and jewelry design, and bookbinding. A native of Massachusetts, Woodward nevertheless became a strong advocate for distinctively Southern art. In an address delivered at the 1926 dedication of the High Museum in Atlanta, he expressed his aspirations for the region: I wish the South to become conscious of her own personality. . . . In her eagerness to become prosperous the fine edge of her personality is disappearing. Art is the preservative. The art of the poet, writer, musician, painter, sculptor and architect. These constitute your first line of defense against the overwhelming smugness of the commonplace and standardized. . . . Take good care of your artists of all persuasions. 16 Woodward s dream that the South would rise again by virtue of its art has come to pass. As the paintings in Scenic Impressions attest, the region s native talent and adopted artists have portrayed its land and people in diverse and evocative ways.
Works of Art
The Three Graces
Oil on wood panel, 10 x 7 inches
Drawn to the South by the exotic flavor of the New Orleans French Quarter, Wayman Adams was born in Indiana, where his early artistic achievements earned him the sobriquet of the boy artist of Muncie. The author and critic Wilbur Peat has noted that Adams technical development was rapid and his remarkable facility in handling brushes and paint was admired by his fellow students and instructors. 1 His early formation as an artist was guided by several important members of the Hoosier Group-a loose collective of Impressionist artists associated with Indiana. After enrolling in the John Herron Institute in Indianapolis in 1904, Adams soon sought out instructors of national note while undertaking the time-honored journey to Europe.
On his study trips to the continent, Adams worked with two seminal, though disparate, figures in the American art world: William Merritt Chase in 1910 and Robert Henri in 1912. While Chase s flamboyant personal style may have personified Gilded Age American artistic pretense, he was a distinct talent and a nurturing mentor. Whether abroad or at his Shinnecock summer school, Chase encouraged his followers to paint en plein air. Chase s Long Island scenes captured the brilliance of light on the sand dunes through seemingly spontaneous brushwork applied to an entrancingly clear color. To Chase, modern painting was both a depiction of modern life-a record of contemporary manners, mores, and dress-and an art, freed from literature and imaginative invention, that stressed, as the strategy for its liberation, the purely visual as well as the means and methods of painting itself. 2
Adams affinity with Chase can be seen in his small but masterful oil sketch, The Three Graces. While the subject matter-three little girls elaborately garbed in billowing dresses and fanciful bows-may seem a tad precious, the brushwork and color highlights are at one with the Impressionist avant-garde. The cascading glimpses of pink and mauve, set against a dark background, create a punctuating rhythm made slightly elusive by the faintly evanescent brushwork. A contemporary observer of Adams at work noted that in his early stages the color was kept exceedingly simple and the tones quite flat, but so true in hue and value that the final painting appeared to be a matter of relatively slight modifications. 3
Adams also worked with Robert Henri, accompanying that artist on a study tour to Spain in 1912. Although both Chase and Henri were leading lights of the American Impressionist style, Henri s affiliation with the Ashcan School set him apart. While Chase s paintings often deployed the wonders of natural light, Henri cast his work in darker, oft times more somber and gritty tones. Henri articulated his theories in a series of lectures and comments to his classes at the Art Students League. Advocating a more emotive response to subject matter, he urged his pupils to start with a deep impression, the best, the most interesting, the deepest you can have of the model; to preserve this vision throughout the work; to see nothing else; to admit of no digression from it. Henri felt himself to be looking at each individual with the eager hope of finding there something of the dignity of life, the humor, the humanity, the kindness essential to all genius, all true progress, all significant beauty. 4 Adams exposure to these ideas is crucial to an understanding of his gaze, especially the way in which he beheld the earthy subjects he found on travels to the Deep South. Exhibition records and extant dated work indicates that Adams often wintered in New Orleans between 1916 and 1928. During those years, the cheap rent and easy living in the French Quarter attracted various artists and writers whose antics make up the legends and lore of what has been called a Dixie Bohemia. In this setting, Adams found plentiful subject matter, creating paintings which echo Henri s lessons in an earnest, and heartfelt, realism.

Hiver en For t de Fontainebleau [ Winter in the Forest of Fontainebleau ]
Oil on canvas, 18 x 24 inches
Once a royal hunting ground, the legendary forest of Fontainebleau became a favored destination for tourists and artists alike during the early nineteenth century. Its name is distilled from the appellation fontaine belle eau -the fountain of beautiful water thought to spring from a source deep in the woods. Though its history was that of a restricted pleasure park for the ancient French regime, Fontainebleau became, in the aftermath of the Napoleonic era, a cherished site for romantic retreats from the Parisian tumult. Located some thirty-five miles southeast of the city, the forest s popularity was greatly enhanced when train service, established in 1849, provided a quick and easy link from Paris-Gare de Lyon terminal. Once there, urban bohemians could escape the crushing monde of bourgeois Paris and rediscover their own nature and the world s, amidst the peace and solitude of the forest. 1
Travel writers from the early nineteenth century extolled its untamed quality. There does exist a forest for which we must admit an especial predilection-for within the limits of civilization . . . yet possessing features as wild and characteristic as [Salvator] Rosa might have deigned to paint . . . [is] the forest of Fontainebleau-still savage in its scenery. 2 The French painters Camille Roqueplan, Jean-Baptiste Isabey, and Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot responded to that wildness and were among the first generation of artists fascinated by Fontainebleau s multitude of picturesque effects. The variety and size of its trees constantly amazed visitors. Barbizon became especially famous for its giant oak trees, which seemed all the more massive next to the many elegant birches and elms. 3
However, it was not until 1849 when Jean-Fran ois Millet took up residence in the wood-cutter village of Barbizon that one of the seminal schools of Western art was born. Though the art of this school was often deemed vulgar by French critics fearful for the autonomy of the academy, the renderings of rustic terrain and humble peasantry toiling in the fields found an appreciative audience in America. As apprehended by the American artist and patron, art in the Barbizon mood was a state of mind through which nature could enter the realm of art without ceasing to be nature. It offered both practitioner and viewer a sensuous tranquility remote from the grandeur of the Yellowstone or the majesty of vast Hudson River depictions of blazing sunsets and towering precipices. 4
George Aid was part of a second wave of expatriate artists who studied in France and created artwork in the Barbizon style then so fashionable with American collectors. He was a native of Illinois who arrived in Paris by way of Missouri, where he had studied with Halsey Ives, founder of the St. Louis School and Museum of Fine Arts. Ives had established a foreign study scholarship fund, which in January 1899 was awarded, in part, to Aid. Upon his arrival in Paris that spring, Aid came under the guidance of the American Impressionist painter Lawton Parker, who gave him lodging and sponsored his admission to the Acad mie Julian. Aid and his compatriots established modest studios in Montparnasse, where they lived cheaply . . .

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