press release

In the late 19th century, American artists by the hundreds—including such luminaries as James McNeill Whistler, John Singer Sargent, Mary Cassatt, Thomas Eakins, and Winslow Homer—were irresistibly drawn to Paris, the world’s new art capital. By studying with leading masters and showing their work in Paris, these artists aimed to attract patronage from American collectors who had begun to buy contemporary French art in earnest soon after the end of the American Civil War. Paris inspired decisive changes in American painters’ styles and subjects, and stimulated the creation of more sophisticated art schools and higher professional standards back in the United States.

This landmark exhibition features some 100 oil paintings by 37 Americans whose accomplishments proclaim the truth of what Henry James observed in 1887: "It sounds like a paradox, but it is a very simple truth, that when to-day we look for ‘American art’ we find it mainly in Paris. When we find it out of Paris, we at least find a great deal of Paris in it." Representing the breadth of artistic activity in Paris, the exhibition includes painters who were aligned with vanguard tendencies—particularly what came to be known as Impressionism—as well as those who espoused the academic principles that many American patrons preferred.

The showing at the Metropolitan Museum, which is the exhibition’s final stop in an international three-city tour, includes several important canvases drawn from the Museum’s own extensive holdings. Of particular interest are Whistler’s masterly Arrangement in Flesh Colour and Black: Portrait of Théodore Duret, an image of a leading collector, art critic, and consummate “man about Paris,” which was painted in 1883 and exhibited at the 1885 Paris Salon, and Eakins’ Writing Master, a sensitive portrayal of his father, painted in 1882 and shown in the 1890 Paris Salon. The installation is further enhanced with fine examples of American sculpture by artists who also studied and showed in Paris, including Augustus Saint-Gaudens and Frederick William MacMonnies.

only in german

Americans in Paris, 1860–1900

Künstler: John White Alexander, Nelson Norris Bickford, Mary Cassatt, Charles Courtney Curran, Abbott Fuller Graves, Childe Hassam, Willard Metcalf, Maurice Prendergast, John Singer Sargent, Henry Ossawa Tanner, Harry van der Weyden, J. Carroll Beckwith, Frank W. Benson, Dennis Miller Bunker, Jefferson D. Chalfant, Ellen Day Hale, Winslow Homer, Thomas Hovenden, William Morris Hunt, Anna Elizabeth Klumpke, Hermann Dudley Murphy, Charles Sprague Pearce, Robert Vonnoh, Charles Grafly, Julius LeBlanc Stewart, Thomas Eakins, Charles Sprague Pearce, James McNeill Whistler, Augustus Saint-Gaudens, Cecilia Beaux, William Merritt Chase, Elizabeth Nourse, Henry Ossawa Tanner, Frederick William MacMonnies, Dennis Miller Bunker, John H. Twachtman, Frederic Porter Vinton, Robert Vonnoh, John Leslie Breck, Theodore Robinson, Edmund C. Tarbell, J. Alden Weir, Olin Levi Warner ...