Currently on View, Exhibition Catalogs, John Leslie Breck: American Impressionist 9/18/21 through 1/2/22

John Leslie Breck: American Impressionist

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John Leslie Breck: American Impressionist 

By: Jonathan Stuhlman 

Essays by Katherine Bourguignon, Jeffrey R. Brown, Erica E. Hirshler, Royal W. Leith, and Jonathan Stuhlman

John Leslie Breck: American Impressionist presents the work, life, and career of the nineteenth-century artist John Leslie Breck, who has been credited with being one of the first American artists to adopt Impressionism and to nurture its acceptance in the United States. Born at sea off Hong Kong in 1860, Breck studied in Germany at the Munich Academy and in Paris at the Academie Julian in the 1880s. In the summer of 1887, Breck visited Giverny, where he began his conversion to Impressionism, befriended Claude Monet, and over the next few years played an instrumental role in the village's establishment as an American art colony. Many of Breck's most enduring paintings are from this short but intense period, including notable works such as Mill Stream - Limetz (1888), In the Valley of the Seine - Autumn (ca. 1890), and the series Studies of an Autumn Day (1891). After returning from France, Breck created some of the earliest Impressionist views of California, a large body of particularly beautiful paintings of New England, and what may be the first series of Venetian scenes by an American Impressionist; many of these are published here for the first time. 

In addition to the 80 or so works by Breck, this volume also features more than 70 additional comparative images including details, unpublished historic photographs, and paintings by Monet and leading American Impressionists including Joseph Rodefer DeCamp, Arthur Wesley Dow, Willard Metcalf, Lilla Cabot Perry, and Theodore Robinson. Essays by Katherine Bourguignon, Jeffery R. Brown, Erica E. Hirshler, Royal W. Leith, and Jonathan Stuhlman chart Breck's life and career, examine the influence on his work of his stay in Giverny, explore his Venetian paintings, and place him in context within both the American and European art worlds of his time. 

"This is the book every artist deserves. It is exemplary in the way it illustrates all of Breck's outstanding works, gives us a much-needed, detailed account of his life in Giverny including his relationship to Monet and his step-daughters, explains his family and his ties to Boston, expands our knowledge by illustrating his work in Venice, Santa Barbara, and Gloucester, and forthrightly examines his good times and his troubled ones." 

-Theodore E. Stebbins Jr., former Curator of American Art, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and Harvard Art Museums