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Cedar Rapids Museum of Art celebrates its 125th anniversary with an exhibition of American and French impressionist painters

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Across the Atlantic and Ooh La La Public Reception

Cedar Rapids Museum of Art — Thursday, Jan. 30 at 5 p.m.

Across the Atlantic: American Impressionism through the French Lens

Cedar Rapids Museum of Art — Saturday, Feb. 1 to Sunday, April 26

Arthur Watson Sparks, Quai St. Catherine, Martigue, about 1910-1919, oil on board, Museum
Purchase, Reading Public Museum, Reading, Pennsylvania. — courtesy of the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art

The Cedar Rapids Museum of Art (CRMA) is kicking off its 125th anniversary with a new exhibition showcasing 19th century impressionist art.

“Across the Atlantic: American Impressionism through the French Lens” will showcase the “complex relationship” between French impressionism in the late 1800s and the American interpretation of the style in the following decades. The new style of painting, which developed at the end of the 19th century, emphasized light, rapid or loose brushstrokes and bright scenes from daily life.

CRMA chose impressionist art for its first exhibition in 2020 because of the style’s importance in 1895 — the year the museum was founded — and for the style’s influence on Iowa artists Grant Wood and Marvin Cone.

“For those reasons, it makes sense that we should look back at impressionism in our anniversary year,” CRMA executive director Sean Ulmer wrote on the museum’s website.

John Fabian Carlson, Snowy Waters, about 1920-1927, oil on canvas, Museum Purchase,
Reading Public Museum, Reading, Pennsylvania. — courtesy of the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art

More than 75 paintings and works from 60 artists will be displayed, according to a news release from the museum. The exhibition will feature a number of French artists — including Edgar Degas and Camille Pissarro — whose work was showcased in the official impressionist exhibition in Paris. Work by American artists who embraced the style will also be showcased.

To kick off the exhibition’s opening, the museum is having a free public reception on Thursday, Jan. 30.

Attendees will also have a chance to see the companion exhibition, “Ooh La La: French Works from the Riley Collection,” which opened Dec. 21. The reception begins at 5 p.m. and light refreshments will be served.

“Across the Atlantic: American Impressionism” through the French Lens officially opens Saturday, Feb. 1 and will be on display through Sunday, April 26. The museum will have a variety of events throughout the months the exhibition is set up, including lectures, gallery presentations and tours.


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