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Impressionists in Brooklyn

The Brooklyn Museum contains one of the most comprehensive and varied collections in the United States. Unjustly less known than its big brother in Manhattan, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, it was inaugurated in 1897 and its permanent collections are rich with more than 1.5 million objects on an area of 52,000 square meters.

If the French impressionists are in the spotlight, the Americans (and that was the least!) are not left out with works by William Glackens, Mary Cassatt, Frederick Child Hassam or Winslow Homer.

An abundance of light and colors to visit absolutely! Just cross the Brooklyn Bridge...

Let's look at three paintings by Glackens, Monet and Caillebotte.

White Ships, 1908, watercolor over graphite, with gouache and wax resist, Brooklyn Museum
William Glackens (American, 1870-1938). Bathing at Bellport, Long Island, 1912. Brooklyn Museum, Photo: Brooklyn Museum,

Belonging to the "Group of Eight", American painters with a realistic bias, William Glackens, by his treatment of colors and his interpretation of space, is no less impressionist. Influenced by Manet, then by Renoir after a trip to France in 1906, he was notably commissioned by his classmate Albert Barnes to buy paintings from him in Europe for 20,000 dollars. He returned with Manet, Renoir, Degas, Cézanne, Gauguin, Van Gogh and Matisse, which are now exhibited at the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia.

The Museum's collection of American art has nearly 2,000 objects which are distributed among its various sections. It includes portraits, pastels, prints and sculptures made from 1720 to 1945.

Soldats espagnols, ch. 1903, aquarelle sur mine de plomb, avec gouache, Brooklyn Museum
Claude Monet Marée montante à Pourville 1882. Brooklyn Museum, Photo: Brooklyn Museum

The collection of paintings by French impressionists contains several dozen works. In particular, you will find a view of Pourville by Claude Monet, painted in 1882. The latter produced a large number of paintings of this Normandy resort, working on several of them each day (he had to hire a porter for the help carry them all). Each painting could require up to twenty sessions.

Pêcheur majorquin, 1908, huile sur toile, Collection privée
Gustave Caillebotte (La Seine et le pont du chemin de fer d'Argenteuil 1885 ou 1887 Brooklyn Museum, Gift of The Arthur M. Sackler Foundation, Photo: Brooklyn Museum

Gustave Caillebotte treats one of the most significant symbols of the 19th century - the steam train - about to cross the concrete and iron railway bridge spanning the Seine at Argenteuil. This bridge was also represented several times by Claude Monet and is the subject of a specific presentation in my conference on the "Impressionists and modernity". The cut edges of the composition and the particular perspective suggest the influence of photography on Caillebotte's work.

Jean Faure (1865-1942)
Le Musée de Brooklyn. © Jim Henderson

Brooklyn Museum

200 Eastern Parkway

Brooklyn, New York 11238-6052

In his art history lectures, Fabrice Roy combines the past with the present, in a poetic and playful evocation of the French 19th century...

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