Frontiers of Impressionism

April 1 – June 25, 2023

Gallery 215

DeWitt Parshall, 'Hermit Creek Canyon', 1880–1916, oil on canvas
DeWitt Parshall, Hermit Creek Canyon, 1880–1916, oil on canvas, © Estate of DeWitt Parshall, Museum Purchase, 1916.57

Explore the evolution and expansion of impressionism, an artistic movement that changed the trajectory of art history. Frontiers of Impressionism chronicles the emergence of impressionism in 19th-century France, its subsequent expansion to much of Europe and the United States, and the lasting changes the movement has brought to the art world. Framed through the lens of the Worcester Art Museum's collection of impressionist works, many of which were acquired when these artists were still living, the exhibition highlights over 30 artists, including Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Camille Pissarro, Mary Cassatt, Childe Hassam, and Max Slevogt. Approximately half of the works in the exhibition are on view for the first time in decades.

Frontiers of Impressionism demonstrates firsthand the qualities that defined impressionist painting: a dedication to capturing on canvas what the eye perceives, an inclination to painting en plein air (outdoors), and an adherence to a painterly technique characterized by lighter, looser brushwork. Move through the exhibition's six sections, which group artworks to investigate the revolutionary roots of impressionism and the emergence of landscape as a rupture to the hierarchy of genres, Paris as the epicenter of impressionism, networks of impressionism and the expansion of styles throughout Europe and the United States, the distinctly American impressionism, how artists defied the limits of impressionism, and the use of impressionism in capturing the frontier of the American West.

After its debut in Worcester, the exhibition will tour internationally, starting at the Tampa Museum of Art (September 8, 2023–January 7, 2024), then to the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum (January 26–April 7, 2024), followed by additional locations to be announced.

Frontiers of Impressionism is curated by Claire C. Whitner, the Worcester Art Museum's Director of Curatorial Affairs and the James A. Welu Curator of European Art and Erin Corrales-Diaz, the Museum's former Assistant Curator of American Art, who now serves as the Curator of American Art at the Toledo Museum of Art.

Press Release

This exhibition is generously supported by the Fletcher Foundation. Additional support is provided by the Pollack PEACE Fund. This project is also funded in part by the Ruth and John Adam, Jr. Exhibition Fund, Richard A. Heald Curatorial Fund, Michie Family Curatorial Fund, and the Christian A. Johnson Exhibition Fund. Related programming is supported by the Amelia and Robert H. Haley Memorial Lecture Fund and the Spear Fund for Public Programs. Media partner: WBUR.

Related Programs

Exhibition Tours

Saturdays, 1 pm; Sundays, 2:15 pm
Free with Museum admission

Space is limited. Please register at the welcome desk as you enter the Museum.

Talk: Landscapes of Desire and Trauma: The Image of Puerto Rico by Francisco Oller

Sunday, June 4, 2 pm
Free; advance tickets recommended

Speaker: Professor Edward J. Sullivan, the Helen Gould Shepard Professor in the History of Art at New York University.

Learn more and get tickets.

Selected Images

John Henry Twachtman, 'The Waterfall', about 1890, oil on canvas
John Henry Twachtman, The Waterfall, about 1890, oil on canvas, Museum Purchase, 1907.91
Claude Monet, 'Waterlilies', 1908, oil on canvas
Claude Monet, Waterlilies, 1908, oil on canvas, Museum Purchase, 1910.26
Childe Hassam, 'The Breakfast Room, Winter Morning, New York', 1911, oil on canvas
Childe Hassam, The Breakfast Room, Winter Morning, New York, 1911, oil on canvas, Museum Purchase, 1911.29
Paul Signac, 'Golfe Juan', 1896, oil on canvas
Paul Signac, Golfe Juan, 1896, oil on canvas, Gift from the Chapin and Mary Alexander Riley Collection, 1964.27
Anders Leonard Zorn, 'Opal', 1891, oil on canvas
Anders Leonard Zorn, Opal, 1891, oil on canvas, Gift of Marianne and John Jeppson, 1986.59
Frank Weston Benson, 'Natalie', 1917, oil on canvas
Frank Weston Benson, Natalie, 1917, oil on canvas, Gift of Desmond Callan, Mary H. Bailey, and Cristina E. Callan, 1996.106
Alfred Sisley, 'Le Lavoir', 1876, oil on canvas
Alfred Sisley, Le Lavoir, 1876, oil on canvas, Gift from the Estate of Robert W. Stoddard, 1998.214