American Impressionism: A New Vision
The influence of European impressionism on 19th-century American art, as part of Edinburgh Art Festival 2014
This article is from 2014.
It lacks something of the blockbuster appeal of the GENERATION shows going on at the rest of the city’s National Gallery venues, but in looking back at the American art scene of the late 19th century’s engagement with European impressionism, festival visitors to Edinburgh will at least be offered a traditional alternative to the slew of thoroughly contemporary Scottish works buzzing round elsewhere.
American Impressionism: A New Vision is a study of influences as much as exponents, beginning with Mary Cassatt’s friendship with a Parisian set including Edgar Degas and Berthe Morisot, and following on with John Singer Sargent, Childe Hassam, John Leslie Breck and others’ tutelage under Claude Monet. Each artist’s work is extensively represented, as well as Whistler, a particularly well-travelled sort, but it’s in the final of four themed segments – an investigation of latterday American subjects – that the show’s brief really comes alive. William Merritt Chase’s study of his wife and daughter on a path in Central Park, Dennis Miller Bunker’s idyllic view of a white cottage set in lush green grass and Hassam’s vivid reproductions of the Chicago World Fair and Commonwealth Avenue in Boston all ring with a sense of place and historic vibrancy.
Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art Two, 624 6200, until 19 Oct, £8 (£6).