One of the many reasons Asheville is such an eclectic little city is the large art scene here. I was so excited to finally visit the Asheville Art Museum in downtown Asheville to see their latest exhibit: Across the Atlantic: American Impressionism Through the French Lens.

I stumbled upon a painting by John Singer Sargent on the museum’s Instagram page and decided immediately that I needed to visit! Big thanks to my boss Linda Wehrli for comping the ticket in exchange for blog duty. #Grateful. On Sunday, February 21, 2021 I headed downtown to immerse myself in art! Parking was a breeze – free street parking on Sundays in downtown Asheville. Woot! Masks were require for entry of course.

But first, a little background about the exhibit, courtesy of the Asheville Art Museum website:

“Drawn from the Reading Public Museum in Reading, PA, this impressive exhibit portrays the road to impressionism in France through the 19th century.

The show examines the somewhat complex relationship between French Impressionism of the 1870s and 1880s and the American interpretation of the style in the decades that followed. Seventy paintings and works on paper contribute to tell the story of the “new style” of painting which developed at the end of the 19th century.

For those that don’t know, impressionistic painting emphasized light and atmospheric conditions, rapid or loose brushstrokes, and a focus on brightly colored scenes from everyday life, including both urban and rural settings when artists preferred to paint outdoors and capture changing effects of light during different times of day and seasons of the year.

The Impressionists were aided by the invention of the tin paint tube and portable easel, so that paintings could be completed in one sitting. Also in this gallery are the early American students of the French Impressionists. The group of artists first known to embrace the subjects of everyday life and who were interested in the depiction of light and atmosphere, are known as the Barbizon school.”

Artists include Edgar Degas, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Mary Cassatt, John Singer Sargent, Berthe Morisot, and more.

Unfortunately, photography was not allowed. 🙁 Thankfully the museum created this little video to enjoy.

What made the exhibit even better was the collaboration with the Asheville Symphony to enhance the dynamic visual experience through a second sense: sound. Musicians from the Symphony selected and recorded music composed in France and the United States by George Gershwin, Claude Debussy, and others at the same time as these artworks’ creation. This added touch really allowed the viewers to immerse themselves in the experience. Very creative!

Another unique aspect of the exhibit was the beautiful lavender and blue/gray walls which really made the bright impressionists colors pop.

While leaving, I stopped by the museum’s cute gift shop. Although they were not selling any exhibit catalogs, they had cute mugs and souvenirs available for purchase.

If you find yourself in Asheville, I highly recommend viewing this remarkable exhibit. Artwork will be on display until April 19, 2021.

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Art Scene covers eclectic art events and locales.
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Pastimes For a Lifetime Art and Piano School is located in Valley Glen, California. 818-766-0614. School is open Tuesday – Saturday year-round, except major holidays.
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