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'American Impressionism & Realism: A Landmark Exhibition from the Met'


John Singer Sargent | 1856–1925 | Mr and Mrs IN Phelps Stokes 1897 | Oil on canvas | 214 x 101cm (84 1/4 x 39 3/4in.) Bequest of Edith Minturn Phelps Stokes (Mrs IN), 1938 | 38.104 | Collection: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York | Image © The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Come face to face with some true American Icons - 'American Impressionism and Realism: A Landmark Exhibition from the Met', The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, shows at the Queensland Art Gallery unitl 20 September 2009.
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30 May – 20 September 2009, Queensland Art Gallery

The Queensland Art Gallery is the only venue in the world to show the exhibition 'American Impressionism and Realism: A Landmark Exhibition from the Met', curated by Dr Barbara Weinberg, the Alice Pratt Brown Curator of American Paintings and Sculpture, The Metropolitan Museum of Art.  

The exhibition makes available to Australian audiences, for the first time and on an unprecedented scale, a selection of 71 paintings from New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. Included are many of the Metropolitan’s best examples in the American Impressionist and Realist traditions which have never before been displayed together and are not likely to be lent again as an ensemble.  

This groundbreaking presentation features works by 34 painters, renowned and less well-known. Some of the leading figures — such as Impressionists John Singer Sargent, Mary Cassatt, Childe Hassam, and William Merritt Chase, and Realists John Sloan and William Glackens — are represented by several of their works. ‘American Impressionism and Realism’ considers how proponents of two styles that flourished around 1900 responded to modern life and to the era’s perplexing novelties, and will invite consideration of what they embraced, what they did not, and why. Often saturated with light and colour, these paintings are also saturated with meaning.

The works are usually displayed in the permanent galleries of the Metropolitan Museum's American Wing, the renovation of which has enabled such an unusually large number of major American paintings to be lent for this unique exhibition.

Highlighting how Australian artists responded to key artistic developments of the time, more than 30 iconic Australian paintings will also be included in the exhibition. Australian artists will include Tom Roberts, Charles Conder, Frederick McCubbin and Rupert Bunny.

'American Impressionism and Realism' includes light-filled landscapes and seascapes, magnificent portraiture and images that reflect aspects of modern life — leisure, cities, and intimate depictions of women and children.

The exhibition was organised by The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, in collaboration with the Queensland Art Gallery and Art Exhibitions Australia. For more information about the Metropolitan, please visit www.metmuseum.org

The Publication

A richly illustrated catalogue, available in both soft and hard cover editions, has been published in conjunction with the exhibition. The publication features an overview of American Impressionism and Realism by exhibition curator Dr Barbara Weinberg, and American artists' biographies and catalogue entries by Stephanie L Herdrich, Research Associate, and Elizabeth Athens, Research Assistant, with the assistance of Katie Lynn Steiner, Research Assistant, all of the Department of American Paintings and Sculpture, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Also included are an essay on Australian Impressionism by Lynne Seear, Deputy Director, Curatorial and Collection Development, and Australian artists' biographies and catalogue entries by Angela Goddard, Curator, Australian Art to 1970, and Michael Hawker, Curatorial Assistant, Australian Art to 1970, all of the Queensland Art Gallery.

In her essay, Lynne Seear explores the qualities of American and Australian cultural affinity and divergence, and the call of Europe to which this generation of Australian artists responded.  

The 340-page book is published in both softcover ($44.95) and hardcover ($69.95) and is available for purchase from the exhibition shop, the Gallery Store and online.