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Impressionism and Beyond
Impressionism and Beyond traces the complex and generative encounters of artists with modern life, highlighting the diverse conversations between tradition and innovation, representation and abstraction, and the artist’s studio and the art market. During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, European life encountered dramatic social, political, and psychological changes, which in turn contributed to significant artistic developments. Artists responded to this fluid environment in many ways—visualizing modern life as it was but also viewing the world through an imaginative lens. The effects of global expansion through colonialization also appear—filtered through the eyes of the colonizers.
At the same time, new attitudes about artistic practice and expressions of modernity elevated drawing and printmaking to greater prominence among the avant-garde. In France, which dominated progressive trends for much of the period, the Impressionists broke with traditional academic modes of representation through formal experimentation and innovative print and drawing techniques. This experimental impulse provided a launchpad for later generations to push formal and technical innovations even further.
Drawing on works exclusively from St. Louis collections, the exhibition is informed by overarching themes that guided artists in their examinations of modernity. Subjects of modern urban life such as the domestic interior and the modern woman of fashion thrived during the period. Meanwhile, experimental treatments of the figure and landscape highlight the new ways artists viewed the world around them, sometimes giving way to quirky, even frightening, visions.
Impressionism and Beyond is curated by Abigail Yoder, research assistant; and Elizabeth Wyckoff, curator of prints, drawings, and photographs.