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American Impressionists next featured in Great Art Wednesdays

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Posted on May 4, 2017 |
By Addison Independent



MIDDLBEURY — Town Hall Theater’s Great Art Wednesdays series continues with “The Artist’s Garden: American Impressionism,” directed by Phil Grabsky and narrated by Gillian Anderson.

Taking its lead from French artists like Renoir and Monet, the American impressionist movement followed its own path, which over a 40-year period reveals as much about America as a nation as it does about its art as a creative power-house. It’s a story closely tied to a love of gardens and a desire to preserve nature in a rapidly urbanizing nation. Travelling to studios, gardens and iconic locations throughout the United States, UK and France, this mesmerizing film is a feast for the eyes.

In 1886, the French art dealer Paul Durand-Ruel brought a selection of his huge stock of impressionist paintings to New York, changing the course of art in America forever. American artists flocked to the French village of Giverny, home to the master impressionist Claude Monet, and cheered the French new wave: painting outdoors with a new found brilliance and vitality. As Europe recoiled against the work of Monet, Degas and Renoir, Americans embraced it and created their own style of impressionism.

The timing of Durand-Ruel’s visit fueled America as it steamed into the Industrial Age; urban reformers fought to create public parks and gardens amid smokestacks and ash heaps. These gardens provided unlimited inspiration for artists and a never-ending oasis for the growing middle class, made up of increasingly independent women, who relished the writings of English horticulturalists Gertrude Jekyll and William Robinson.

“The Artist’s Garden: American Impressionism” exhibit began at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and ended at the Florence Griswold Museum, Old Lyme, Conn. See the exhibit at Middlebury’s Town Hall Theater on Wednesday, May 10, at 11 a.m. Tickets are $10, $5 students. More info at www.townhalltheater.org or call (802) 382-9222.

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