As an artistic subject, there could be no better match for the Impressionists than the element of water. The play of light, sense of atmosphere and physical experience of floating in a groundless world were irresistible for artists like Monet, Renoir, Sisley, Signac, and Caillebotte, all who spent many hours at sea, on river boats, leisure craft, and floating studios. These artists painted in gestural techniques to suggest movement and the ephemeral, yet also frequently made specific notations of changing configurations of hull, sail, and rigging. In the process, they celebrated the experience of gently drifting on a riverboat or braving the elements on a ship at sea.
The publication accompanies the exhibition Impressionists on the Water on view at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco from June 1 through October 13, 2013, and the Peabody Essex Museum from November 9, 2013 through February 17, 2014.
Phillip Dennis Cate, former director of the Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum, is a specialist in nineteenth-century French art. Daniel Charles is a noted historian of innovation and technology, with a particular expertise in maritime heritage. Christopher Lloyd is Surveyor of the Queen’s Pictures.
12”h x 10”w
Skira Rizzoli, 2013