The exhibition “Dancing in the Light: Masterworks from the Age of American Impressionism” brings …

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Mother and child in a garden, France, c. 1911-12. Alice Schille (American, 1869–1955). Watercolor on paper, 23½ x 19½ inches. Loaned from Ann and Tom Hoaglin.
Cantonal Art Museum

On the sand, c. 1915. Edward Potthast (American, 1857-1927). Oil on board, 12 x 16 in. Loan from a private collection, c / o Kenia Galleries.
Cantonal Art Museum

Edward Potthast, Ferry Terminal, ca.1915-20. In the collection of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Atwood
Cantonal Art Museum

Dancing in the Light: Masterpieces from the Age of American Impressionism is a new exhibition (and catalog) with works of American Impressionism from 1878 to approx. 1930 with a focus on the “uniquely American” medium of watercolor.

The exhibition (until March 7, 2021) at Cantonal Art Museum (CMA) in Ohio features paintings and works on paper from private collections, museum collections, and CMA’s own collection to tell the story of the American Impressionist movement from its beginnings in France to the coasts of America – and why it is still relevant and today accessible as one of the most beautiful artistic eras. The exhibition shows some works by important artists from private collections that are rarely seen in public.

Many consider the French Impressionists to be the only Impressionists. Until they were introduced – or reintroduced – to American artists who also lit up the sun-drenched landscape, lit dance halls, and captured ladies having tea or casual dining on the beach. These accessible scenes are what make Impressionism in all its forms so popular with audiences.

CMA Guest Curator Jim Keny notes, “This is one of the premier exhibitions in a Midwestern venue for several decades on the immensely popular subject of American Impressionism, and the first to provide a comprehensive overview of American Impressionism. highlighting the numerous masterpieces owned by Ohio collectors and regional institutions. ” A Full color catalog will accompany the exhibition, available in the Museum’s Artisan Boutique (Tel .: 330.453.7666).

Between 1860 and 1930, Ohio was the third largest state in the country and one of the richest. It is noteworthy that there are eight major art museums and over a dozen outstanding art schools in the state. This legacy is greater than that of virtually any other state outside of New York and California. Its institutional strength has attracted many excellent works to the state and has also fueled the careers of many of the great American artists born or studied in Ohio. As a result, many of the finest American Impressionist paintings are currently owned by Ohio individuals and regional institutions, including masterpieces by such revered artists as Mary Cassatt, Childe Hassam, John Singer Sargent, and James Whistler.

This quirky exhibit is curated by the Canton Museum of Art and guest curator James Keny of the Keny Galleries in Columbus, Ohio, known for his expertise in Ohio art and American impressionism. Kenya has curated over 20 museum exhibitions devoted to various aspects of American Impressionism, including the most recent In a clear light: Alice Schille and the American watercolor movement (2019) and earlier American Impressionism: Variations on a Theme (2006), both at the Columbus Museum of Art. He has also organized over 25 such shows for the Kenya Galleries in German Village. Mr. Kenya is the contributing author of several books including Triumph of Color and Light: Ohio Impressionists and Post-Impressionists (1994) and author of numerous scientific articles on the subject in American art criticism. Kenya holds a BA from Harvard University, majoring in art history and economics.

Contributions to the accompanying catalog and the exhibition come from Dr. William Robinson, a world-renowned art historian and expert on American Impressionism, currently Senior Curator of Modern European Painting and Sculpture, 1800-1960, at The Cleveland Museum of Art and Associate Professor of Art History at Case Western Reserve University, where he was in PhD in art history.

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