More than a century ago easel painters were inspired by the wonder of America’s sublime picturesque settings, just as subdivisions, shopping malls, office parks, condominiums, and asphalt parking lots have captured much of today’s imagination. The Society of the Four Arts current exhibition, In a New Light: American Impressionism 1870–1940, focuses on mid-19th and early 20th-century brush-and-canvas artists classified as American Impressionists, among them, George Innes, Childe Hassam, Thomas Moran, John Sloan, Ernest Lawson, Daniel Garber, and Guy Carleton Wiggins. The nostalgic paintings were curated from the Bank of America Collection.
Since 2009 more than 140 museums have borrowed exhibitions from the bank’s collection. The Four Arts show of 130 works by 75 artists represents “the emergence and evolution of a truly American style,” according to the Bank of America. This broad survey includes works from the era’s prominent regional art colonies, embedding a historical context for American Impressionism by positioning it between the Hudson River School and Modernism, as seen in later pieces on view. Boston, Cos Cob, New Hope, Cape Ann, Taos, Carmel, Santa Barbara, and Pasadena are among the art circles represented.
For perspective on The Four Arts’ showcase, I took a look on a recent late Friday afternoon at some of the latest offerings found in Palm Beach galleries located along Worth Avenue and Royal Poinciana Plaza. Considering the gridlock of double-parked cars, the number of Ubers circling the block looking for their passengers, and the cacophony of car horns, Canadian truckers may have met their match, as sporadic blockades have become part of Worth Avenue’s appeal.
Scene at the Gavlak Gallery
At Lehmann Maupin
At The Four Arts reception
Photography Augustus Mayhew.