Mary Cassatt, William Merrit Chase, Childe Hassam, Ernest Lawson, Willard Metcalf, Maurice Prendergast, Theordore Robinson and John Twatchtman. These artists, known as the American Impressionists, have been praised for being responsible for the revitalization of American painting in the later years of the 19th century. “In Open Air,” produced by the Smithsonian Institution, explores the nature of these artists’ sensibilities and works, the specific French Impressionists from whom they drew inspiration, and the various artistic communities that they founded in America.
It was in Paris that these American artists became fascinated with the French Impressionists’ experiments with pure color. Monet’s broken patches of color, as exhibited in his Giverny paintings, were particularly appealing, and were part of the style that these artists brought back and adapted to their own American sensibilities. By displaying their works and offering reflections on their lives and times by noted art historians, “In Open Air” shows these American Impressionists as people of culture, devotees of nature, and creators of a foundation for American Art and artists that would be built upon during the 20th century and beyond. Written and directed by Roger Snodgrass.
30 Minutes • Color