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Characteristics of American Impressionism

Characteristics of American Impressionism

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Characteristics of American Impressionism

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  1. Characteristics of American Impressionism

  2. Asymmetrical Balance • Impressionist painters favored asymmetrical compositions such as that employed in this work by Edward Rook where the bushy laurel below is visually balanced by the tree above. Edward Rook (1870-1960)Laurel, c. 1905-10Oil on canvas

  3. Use of Colored Shadows • Many artists employed purples, yellows, and other colors to suggest colored shadows and reflected light. Childe Hassam (1859-1935)Ten Pound Island, c. 1896Oil on canvas

  4. Use of Pure Color • Upon close inspection each hue is applied separately but would be visually fused together by the human eye giving the sensation of flickering light and vibrating atmosphere. Will Howe Foote (1874-1965)Summer, c. 1913Oil on canvas

  5. Broken Color or Broken Brushstrokes • The paint is applied in mosaic-like patches which creates a rough irregular surface texture. Childe Hassam (1859-1935)Late Afternoon (Sunset), 1903Oil on canvas

  6. Use of Impasto (or Thick Paint) • In an Impressionist canvas, paint is applied in thick raised strokes which is called impasto. Willard Metcalf (1858-1925)Summer at Hadlyme, 1914Oil on canvas

  7. Subject Matter • The subject matter of Impressionism is often casual, everyday life, captured with an immediacy enhanced by transient effects of light and atmosphere. William Chadwick (1879-1962)On the Piazza, c. 1908Oil on canvas

  8. High Horizon Line • Impressionist painters employed the use of a high horizon line that often creates a plunging perspective. Matilda Browne (1869-1947)In Voorhees’ Garden, 1914Oil on canvas

  9. Photographic Influence • Photography exerted a powerful influence on the visual arts. Its ability to create a likeness had an immediate effect on portrait painters, Edmund Greacen (1876-1949)The Lady in the Boat, 1920Oil on canvas

  10. Influence of Japanese Prints • The prints both inspired and confirmed the Impressionists’ own ideas about color and form, revealing a very different approach to composition than that of the Western tradition. Harry Hoffman (1874-1966)Bridging the Lieutenant, c. 1906Oil on canvas

  11. Painted "En Plein Air" • The rise of plein-air painting, or painting out-of-doors, is a phenomenon closely connected with Impressionism. Childe Hassam (1859-1935)Isles of Shoals, 1906Oil on canvas