October 12, 2016 through February 26, 2017
In 1854 Commodore Matthew Calbraith Perry established a treaty that opened trade between the United States and Japan, a nation closed to the rest of the world until then. Perry could never have imagined the far-reaching effect that document would have. Within a year, French artist Félix Bracquemond “discovered” the woodblock prints of Hokusai and circulated them among his Paris art circle. Their influence was immediate, and visiting Cos Cob artists John Henry Twachtman, J. Alden Weir and Childe Hassam all took note. The introduction of Japanese art and culture made a splash at International Exhibitions in London (1862), Paris (1867) and Vienna (1873), and resulted in Europe’s captivation with all things Japanese.
The American Civil War delayed the introduction of Japanese art and culture in this country, but upon its introduction at the 1876 Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia and the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago, the “exotic” Japanese aesthetic was enthusiastically embraced.
Through paintings, prints, photographs, carvings, ceramics and textiles, An Eye to the East looks at the influence of Japanese art and culture in the late 19th and early 20th centuries with a special emphasis on the Cos Cob art colony. The contribution of Genjiro Yeto, who studied under John Henry Twachtman at the Art Students League in New York and spent part of each year from 1895 to 1901 at the Holley House, is explored in a separate gallery and features a recent donation of his work to the Greenwich Historical Society by his granddaughter.
View the Japanese translation about this exhibit.
Learn more about Japanism.
Beginning with the opening of An Eye to the East: The Inspiration of Japan, the Historical Society will be offering “The Curator’s Eye” tours on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays at 12:15 pm. These informal, 20- to 30-minute docent-led gallery tours, will focus on exhibition highlights, themes and background stories that provide a framework for better understanding the art and objects on display. Docents will also answer questions and help you zero in on particular points of interest. These value-added tours are included in the price of admission.
Bring a friend and take advantage of a truly personalized experience as you explore our town’s colorful past. And don’t forget, member visits to the gallery are always free!
Interested in seeing more Japanese art? The Art Museum at University of St. Joseph (Hartford) will be mounting Hanga Now, Contemporary Japanese Printmakers from September 23 through December 18, 2016, and the Fairfield University Art Museum is featuring Crafting the Elements: Ceramic Art of Modern Japan from September 29 through December 16, 2016. Both museums are fellow CT Art Trail members. Buy a CT Art Trail pass at the Storehouse Gallery or online and get one-day admission to all 18 CT Art Trail museums free for a year.
February 1 through 28
Public Opening Reception, Wednesday, February 1, 6:00 – 8:00 pm
In a month-long exhibition at the Storehouse Gallery Museum Shop, In Their Footsteps – Deborah Pierce Bonnell Paints Weir Farm will feature works painted by Deborah Pierce Bonnell as a 2016 artist-in-residence at Weir Farm. All will be available for purchase.
Bonnell first became interested in American Impressionism as a docent at Bush-Holley Historic Site, where she studied and lectured on Cos Cob art colony history. Artist J. Alden Weir painted in Cos Cob and later settled with his family at Weir Farm, in Branchville (Wilton) CT, his home for thirty plus years. Now a National Historic Site, Weir Farm was a setting, like Cos Cob, that American Impressionists loved and painted frequently. Weir’s circle of friends, noted American artists John Twachtman, Childe Hassam, John Singer Sargent and Albert Pinkham Ryder, often visited and drew inspiration from the farm’s bucolic vistas, many of which remain intact today.
Bonnell, as artist-in-residence in September, 2016, was able to spend three weeks traversing the very same paths, meadows and woods that these prominent artists walked a century ago. Using oil on canvas, encaustic on panel, watercolor on paper and even iPad digital paintings, she captured her own impressions. Says Bonnell, “As a landscape painter, I was able to immerse myself, not only in the beauty of the place, but in being removed from our hectic, modern sense of time and to imagine what it must have been like there at the turn of the twentieth century. I have come full circle. By working on the same ground as these artists whom I have come to love, I have connected on even more levels.”
Deborah Pierce Bonnell holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Rhode Island School of Design, has studied at the R&F Pigments Encaustic Workshop in Kingston, NY and has done various residencies at Vermont Studio Center in Johnson, VT. She is a former resident of Greenwich and currently resides in Norwalk. Her work has been exhibited at shows and galleries in Connecticut, New York and Texas since 1985.
The public is invited to attend an opening reception on Wednesday, February 1, from 6:00 to 8:00 pm, at the Greenwich Historical Society, Storehouse Gallery, 39 Strickland Road, Cos Cob, CT.
The Bush-Holley House is currently open to the public through guided tours. The house museum has a dual interpretation including documentation and presentation of two significant periods in the history of the house: the Colonial Period when the Bush family was in residence from 1790 to 1825 and the Cos Cob art colony from 1890 to 1920. Eight evocative, well-documented rooms tell a story of change over time, beginning with the turn of the century and moving backward in time to the Federal era.
Bush-Holley Historic Site is a member of the Connecticut Art Trail, a partnership of 15 world-class museums and historic sites across the state. Discover collections rich in history and heritage, including European masterpieces, American Impressionism, ancient art and contemporary culture. Visit www.arttrail.org for information about member museums.
Greenwich Historical Society 39 Strickland Road, Cos Cob, CT 06807 203-869-6899
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