By far one of the best facets of Madrid is the outstanding quality of its museums. The famous Triángulo de Arte — which is composed of the Prado, Reina Sofía, Thyssen museums — houses many of the best works of art ever produced by human hands. Beyond these institutions’ permanent collections, however, are the many temporary exhibitions that take place throughout the year, bringing even more world-class art to Madrid for all to see and experience. Following the continued success of their efforts — including the Mitos del Pop and Hubert de Givenchy exhibitions — the past few months have witnessed the Thyssen Museum’s most recent undertaking: Impresionismo Americano.
Impressionism in Madrid
When it comes to art, many people find some Spanish painters such as El Greco or Goya a bit hard to digest — or perhaps even slightly macabre. On the other hand, most are able to appreciate other Spanish artists, such as Salvador Dalí, or particularly Joaquín Sorolla. The same tends to ring true with Impressionist paintings: the vast majority of people find them to be aesthetically pleasing, and of course, names such as Manet, Monet, Degas and Cézanne are familiar to most. Naturally, when people think of Impressionism, they typically associate the artistic movement with France, which of course is the country where it originated from and where its maximum figures hailed from. What most don’t know, however, is that Impressionism transcended France, influencing American painters, first expatriates living abroad there (many of whom later returned), as well as others residing stateside.
The Exhibition Impresionismo americano
For the past few months the Thyssen has been putting on the exhibition Impresionismo Americano. It is being displayed in the Sala de Exposiciones Temporales — the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum’s space dedicated exclusively to this purpose. The first part of the exhibition contains works by Mary Cassatt, who bore the distinction of being the only American to have shown her paintings in four of the eight exhibitions put on the by the Impressionist Group in Paris. It also contains works by Sargent, who, although never exhibited works with the Impressionist group, did contribute to the diffusion of Impressionist techniques among young American painters.
The second part of the exhibition focusses on Americans in Giverny, the town where Monet took up residence and painted many of his most acclaimed works. This section features the painters Hassam, Robinson, and Breck, all of whom became the first representatives of the Impressionist Movement in the US upon returning in the early 1890s. The third part also features Hassam, as well as Chase, who painted scenes of hidden gardens and local streets of New York, Boston, and Chicago. The fourth section is dedicated to Whistler’s particular brand of Impressionism, which features abstraction and paintings in monochrome. The final section focusses on scenes from American life and landscapes.
Here Today, Gone Tomorrow…
If you’re interested in seeing this exhibition, you’d better hurry, as this weekend is its last. If for whatever reason you cannot make it, but would like to catch a glimpse, take the virtual tour here. Hopefully, though, you’ll manage to get to the Thyssen before Monday, as seeing these works in real life just has no equal.