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Depictions of Water in American Impressionist Painting

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Arts +1 Age Levels Middle School (13 to 15 years old), High School (16 to 18 years old)

This collection explores different water scenes painted by nineteenth and twentieth century American impressionists. It looks at both technical vocabulary for art, and Impressionism as a movement. It uses multiple mediums and explores different artists over the period.

This lesson aims to:

  • Introduce students to Impressionist techniques in art, we well as specifically introduce American Impressionist painting.
  • Encourage discussion of the representation of water in the context of the Museum on Main Street (MoMS) exhibition Water/Ways.
  • Teach some foundational artistic concepts and vocabulary at the intermediate level to students, including: basic color theory, brushwork, expression, and mood.

Students should be able to:

  • Describe visual elements of painting with specific vocabulary.
  • Compare multiple paintings and artists, in terms of specific visual elements.
  • Compare artwork based on the representation of a specific subject: water.
  • [Optional Activity] Reproduce at least one technique from the following categories: color and brushwork.  

Seconnet Point, Rhode Island

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Mrs. Chase in Prospect Park

Metropolitan Museum of Art

Harbor Scene

Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden

Mother and Child in a Boat

Museum of Fine Arts

Dublin Pond, New Hampshire

Smithsonian American Art Museum

The White Bridge

Minneapolis Institute of Art

Misty May Morn

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Coast Scene, Isles of Shoals

Metropolitan Museum of Art

Vesuvius

Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden

Up the River, Late Afternoon, October

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Spring, Navesink Highlands

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Surf, Isles of Shoals

Metropolitan Museum of Art

Noon above Newburgh

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Art Signs - The South Ledges, Appledore

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Optional Activity

Mary Byrne