When Childe Hassam returned to the United States after living in Paris for three years, he brought with him an American form of Impressionism. His Hyde House favorite Geraniumswill be exhibited — along with the works of other American artists who found inspiration overseas — in American Artists in Europe: Selections from the Permanent Collection, which opens Tuesday, February 28, in The Hyde Collection’s Whitney-Renz Gallery.
The featured works are drawn from the Museum’s permanent collection, highlighting American artists inspired by their travels. “Americans go as students or as established artists, but they both come back with distinctly American versions of movements they encountered in Europe,” said Jonathan Canning, Curator of The Hyde.
When, for example, Winslow Homer tired of painting Americans, he traveled overseas in 1881 in search of strong-willed women exuding natural beauty. The revered painter found his muses on the rough shores of Cullercoats, England. He came back to the States with the subjects that would come to dominate his later years, fisherfolk and the power of the sea.
Before the Civil War, America lacked the cultural equivalents of artists’ cafes, salons, and the Bohemian lifestyle that made Europe the center of Western culture. “Artists traveled wanting to see Europe’s great cities, art collections, and monuments,” Canning said. “It wasn’t until after the war that Americans started to develop art academies and cultural institutions of their own.”
American Artists in Europe: Selections from the Permanent Collection features works from Hassam; Homer, who traveled to England twice in the mid-1800s; Frank Duveneck, who traveled and taught extensively in Italy and Germany; Elihu Vedder, who found inspiration in Italy and eventually lived there permanently; and Leonard Freed, who traveled in Europe and Africa before settling in Amsterdam to photograph its Jewish community; among others.
American Artists in Europe runs through June 11 in Whitney-Renz Gallery.