Exhibition | American Impressionism: The Lure of the Artists’ Colony

This collection of works from the Reading Public Museum in Pennsylvania includes more than 75 oil paintings and works on paper dating from the golden age of American Impressionism, the 1880s through the 1940s.  On view are lyrical landscapes ranging from snow-covered hills to sun-filled harbors and seascapes, penetrating portraits, and remarkable still life paintings. A wide range of approaches to impressionism in the earliest twentieth century, including an abiding interest in capturing the effects of light and atmosphere in loosely brushed compositions, is explored.

Arranged according to the artists’ colonies that played a critical role in the development of American Impressionism around the turn of the century, this exhibition examines those at Cos Cob and Old Lyme in Connecticut; Cape Cod, Cape Anne, and Rockport, in Massachusetts; New Hope and Philadelphia in Pennsylvania; Taos, New Mexico; and throughout California. Within each of these colonies, artists were able to teach, collaborate and escape the daily rigors of their city studios. Often located in scenic locations within striking distance of major cities, artists’ colonies served up steady doses of natural beauty and provided ample subject matter.

Leading artists of the movement, many of which are also included in LRMA’s permanent collection, include William Merritt Chase, Childe Hassam, Ernest Lawson, Julian Alden Weir, John Twachtman, Chauncey Ryder, Frank W. Benson, William Paxton, Abbott Thayer, Guy Wiggins, Charles Webster Hawthorne, Colin Campbell Cooper, Daniel Garber and Edward Redfield, among others. In addition, American expatriate artists such as Mary Cassatt and John Singer Sargent will be examined.


This exhibition is underwritten by the Marlin and Ginger Miller Exhibition Fund. The Reading Public Museum is supported in part by grants from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts and the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission.


This exhibition was generously sponsored by Foil-Wyatt Architects & Planners, PLLC, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Mississippi, Jefferson Medical Associates, Regions, SouthGroup Insurance Services, and Tim Lawrence of Morgan Stanley Wealth Management in Jackson.




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