New Mexico Museum of Art

American Impressionism: Paintings From The Phillips Collection

January 16, 2009


Santa Fe, NM (January 16, 2009)—Works by Childe Hassam, Maurice Prendergast, Augustus Vincent Tack, and John Henry Twachtman, are among other American Masters who compose some of this exhibition’s highlights. These artists’ works were among the earliest acquisitions of The Phillips Collection, established in 1921 as America's first museum of modern art. The exhibition opens at the New Mexico Museum of Art on June 5, 2009 and runs through September 13, 2009.

The artists represented in this exhibition were among the first generation of American painters to absorb the technique, brighter palette, and subject matter of impressionism from their French counterparts. These artists, considered rebellious in their time, painted atmospheric landscapes, park, and beach scenes, urban views, and charming interiors, with particular interest in optical effects, light, and the different seasons.

American Impressionism was a painting style imported into this country after the 1880s by artists who studied in France and by American collectors who developed a taste for this new style of painting. American Impressionists tended to retain more academic influences such as structure and realism in their work than the French; however both favored bucolic outdoor scenes with light being the real subject matter. American Impressionists also differed from their French counterparts by imbuing their work with larger ideas related to the emotional and spiritual character of the landscape.

The sixty-five works represented in this exhibition range from some of American Impressionism’s earliest practitioners such as George Inness in the late 1880s to the nearly the end of the movement with work by Robert Spencer in 1931 and from artists both better-known to those less so.

A change in the times and the tastes of collectors may have marked the end of Impressionism as a formal movement in America, but its loose brushwork, two-dimensional surface painting defined by pattern and the treatment of paint, and its bright colors opened the doors to modern art.

This exhibition has been organized by The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C

For this exhibition there is a separate admission fee of $3.00, in addition to the regular museum admission fee, for visitors over 17 years of age. 


A 192-page book with 120 color illustrations accompanies the exhibition.

American Impressionists: Painters of Light and the Modern Landscape, co-published by

The Phillips Collection and Rizzoli International Publications, features essays by William

H. Gerdts, the leading authority on American impressionism, and Phillips exhibition

curator Susan Behrends Frank. The softcover book will be available in the Museum

Shop for $32.95, and the hardcover will be available in bookstores nationwide for $45.

Support for the publication was provided by Furthermore: a program of the

J. M. Kaplan Fund.


Media Contacts

Joe Traugott, Curator



Steve Cantrell, PR Manager


505-310-3539 –cell


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The New Mexico Museum of Art was founded in 1917 as the Art Gallery of the Museum of New Mexico. Housed in a spectacular Pueblo Revival building designed by I. H. and William M. Rapp, it was based on their New Mexico building at the Panama-California Exposition (1915). The museum's architecture inaugurated what has come to be known as "Santa Fe Style." For nearly 100 years, the Museum has celebrated the diversity of the visual arts and the legacy of New Mexico as a cultural crossroads by collecting and exhibiting work by leading artists from New Mexico and elsewhere. This tradition continues today with a wide-array of exhibitions with work from the world’s leading artists. The New Mexico Museum of Art brings the art of New Mexico to the world and the art of the world to New Mexico.

The New Mexico Museum of Art is a division of the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs.


Information for the Public

Location: Santa Fe’s Plaza at 107 West Palace Avenue.

Information: 505-476-5072 or visit

Days/Times: Monday through Sunday, 10:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. Open Free on Fridays, 5:00-8:00 p.m., with the exception of major exhibition openings. After Labor Day the Museum is closed on Mondays.

Admission: School groups FREE

- All New Mexico residents FREE on Sundays with ID

- New Mexico senior citizens age 60+ FREE on Wednesdays

- Friday evenings from 5-8pm FREE at the New Mexico Museum of Art

and the Palace of the Governors

- Museum of New Mexico Foundation Members FREE

- Children 16 and under always FREE

- Students with current ID $1 discount

- Single visit to one museum: New Mexico residents $6, non-residents $9

- One-day pass for two museums New Mexico residents $12, non-residents $15

- Four-day pass to Santa Fe state museums: New Mexico residents $18, non-residents $20

- Group rate for ten or more people: single visit $6, four-day pass $18

Contact Cynthia Romero at 505-476-1140 to schedule group tours




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