Penn State’s Palmer Museum of Art Showcases Impressionism through ‘Summer Light’ Exhibition | University park campus news


Earlier this summer, the Palmer Museum of Art at Penn State acquired a new display of artwork accented with thin brushstrokes, emphasizing natural light and representations of summer – a demonstration of American Impressionism.

“Summer Light: American Impressionist Paintings from the Thomas Clark Collection” opened at the end of May and is on display until August 29.

Erin Coe, museum director and clinical associate professor of art history, said by email that she was “excited” to present the exhibit throughout the summer.

It features 24 paintings on loan from art collector Clark, who pledged his collection of pre-1940 American Impressionist paintings to the Palmer Museum as a bequest, according to Coe.

This exhibition is the first presentation of a selection of works from Clark’s next gift, which consists of around 170 paintings, Coe said.

Mabel May Woodward (American from 1877 to 1945) “A day at the beach”. The Palmer Museum’s American Impressionism exhibit recently opened on Wednesday, June 16, 2021 in University Park, Pennsylvania.

The works of 10 women artists are featured, according to Coe. She said their contributions are important to American Impressionism, although they are not as well known as their male counterparts or recognized for their achievements.

“The exhibit explores how American artists, working in the Impressionist style during the first four decades of the 20th century, made the landscape sunny and fostered a summery aesthetic for American tastes,” Coe said. “He also considers the central role of the summer schools and art colonies which flourished in the United States during this period and which further propagated and popularized the Impressionist style.”

The exhibit also features several artists affiliated with Cape Ann, Massachusetts, for example, which was home to the country’s oldest art colony, according to Coe. It also features artists who have painted further afield, notably in California and Texas.

The main event associated with Summer Light took place virtually on July 8, where Adam Thomas, Curator of American Art at The Palmer, and Coe hosted a “Museum Conversation,” discussing the artists and paintings in the exhibition. . The conversation was moderated by Alicia Skeath, who is a summer curatorial research intern at the Palmer Museum, according to Coe.

The exhibition focuses on Impressionism, which originated in France in the 1870s and is largely characterized by paintings that capture the changing conditions of natural light through a loose brush, vivid colors and the depiction of contemporary subjects. , as well as the practice of outdoor painting, according to Coe.

Palmer Museum, paintings

The Palmer Museum’s American Impressionism exhibit recently opened on Wednesday, June 16, 2021 in University Park, Pennsylvania.

“Although the Impressionist style was initially seen as radical, it quickly gained popularity and gradually moved to American soil – where it found fertile ground and flourished,” Coe said. “Impressionism is an enduring style that has crossed generations and geographic locations. “

Coe said the exhibit explores the “legacy of Impressionism” in the United States and that the style continues to appeal to audiences today.

“Tom Clark picked up the work of women artists from this period and in doing so ensured that their stories and legacy were preserved and shared with students today and for generations to come,” said Coe. “I hope that Penn State students visit us this summer to see the exhibit, which I think they will find refreshing and uplifting after this long period of social distancing and isolation. “

Caitlin LeBlanc, director of visitor services at the Palmer Museum, said she had seen an “overwhelmingly positive” response to the exhibit throughout the summer.

“I enjoyed the conversations I had with visitors on [Summer Light]Said LeBlanc. “The title was chosen wisely because it truly reflects the space and the art it contains. “


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According to LeBlanc, the number of visitor bookings since the opening of Summer Light is 2,706 and counting.

“I love the accessibility of this exhibition for all ages and all interest levels and I think every visitor has a personal reaction and response to these works,” said LeBlanc.

Thomas, who is also an Affiliate Assistant Professor of Art and History at Penn State, was able to acquire Clark’s exposure and said working with him had been a “pleasure.”

“One of my favorite aspects of the exhibit was finding some interesting research about the paintings in the exhibit,” Thomas said. “Some of the artists are not well studied but deserve more attention and scholarship.”

Thomas said he hopes visitors will learn more about “the legacy of Impressionism in the United States” after viewing the exhibit.

“I hope that all visitors to the museum, including students, will find something in the exhibit that speaks to them – something that they connect with or react to and something that makes them think, think, slow down or to share.”

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