America’s Impressionism: Echoes of a Revolution


January 23 – May 9, 2021
Presented by The Joe Orgill Family Fund for Exhibitions 
Organized by Dixon Gallery and Gardens, Brandywine River Museum of Art, and San Antonio Museum of Art 

From the late nineteenth century to World War II, American painters adapted Impressionism to their own ends, shaping one of the most enduring, complex, and contradictory styles of art ever produced in the United States. Americans were largely introduced to Impressionism in 1886 through a major New York exhibition spearheaded by the Parisian art dealer Paul Durand-Ruel. Whereas French Impressionism burst onto the Paris scene with a shocking exhibition in 1874, in the United States, the style arrived after more than a decade of discussion and debate. America’s Impressionism: Echoes of a Revolution explores the nation’s embrace of Impressionism, the innovations Americans brought to the Impressionist experiment and its resonance across two generations of American painting. As American artists interpreted Impressionism, they effectively created a new genre and passed it down to subsequent generations of American artists. Through more than fifty paintings, the exhibition presents an original and nuanced history of the American engagement with the French style, one that was both richer and more ambivalent than mere imitation. 

In re-examining the transfer of a European style to the United States, the selected works in America’s Impressionism offer a window into the complex act of translation as Impressionism was introduced, imitated, and modified over a period of fifty years. The style eventually spread across the country with regional distinctions. For many, American Impressionism finds its ultimate expression in Northeastern locales, such as Old Lyme, Connecticut, and Shinnecock on Long Island, yet there were artists applying the Impressionist aesthetic to the American landscape as far west as Texas and California. America’s Impressionism: Echoes of a Revolution presents the fascinating story of American artists coming to terms with a new modern style as seen through paintings of the rural and suburban landscape, sentimental scenes of women and children, and architecture of bygone eras. 

WILLARD METCALF, Poppy Field (Landscape at Giverny), 1886. Oil on canvas. Collection of J. Jeffrey and Ann Marie Fox. 


Jimpsie Ayres:
 Learning to be Astonished 

January 10 – April 4, 2021
Mallory/Wurtzburger Galleries 

Memphis native Jimpsie Ayres provides a space for her audience to transcend their own experience and dwell in the realm of the beautiful. She takes solace in painting moments of quiet beauty in the natural world, from ripples on the surface of a lake to the spectrum of color found on a shaded lawn. 

Learning to be Astonished is a collection of Ayres’s most recent work created during the COVID-19 pandemic. Drawing her title from a line in a poem by Mary Oliver, “Let me keep my mind on what matters, which is my work, which is mostly standing still and learning to be astonished,” Ayres sought inspiration from her own neighborhood. When she was unable to travel to the picturesque countryside in Provence, Ayres took daily walks in Midtown Memphis. She photographed neighbors walking their dogs, patronizing farmer’s markets, and working in their gardens. These observations coalesced into the source material for much of the painting in Learning to be Astonished

Ayres feels a kinship with the Impressionist painters, both for their commitment to chronicling the zeitgeist and their commitment to truth and beauty. Her sense of connection to these earlier artists is palpably represented in the paintings in this exhibition. Ayres’s tranquil Impressionistic landscapes are punctuated by her keen insight into daily life in 2020. Learning to be Astonished encompasses the ideal and the familiar, bridging the space between the aspirational and that which already exists. 

JIMPSIE AYRES, Cypress, 2020; Oil on panel; Courtesy of the artist. 


Charging Station

January 24 - May 9, 2021
Tommy and Liz Farnsworth Education Building, Interactive Gallery

Everyone needs time to reset, recharge, and keep moving! Charging Station encourages pause and the search to reconnect with self and others through reflection, movement, music, laughter, and more. 

Coming Up
Monday Closed
Tuesday - Saturday 10am - 5pm
Sunday 1pm - 5pm
Third Thursdays: Open until 8pm
Special / Holiday Hours

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