Coinciding with San Francisco’s hosting of the America’s Cup races this summer, another side of nautical life is revealed by more than 80 remarkable paintings and works on paper by Impressionists such as Claude Monet, Gustave Caillebotte, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, and Camille Pissarro and Post-Impressionists such as Maurice Denis and Paul Signac—artists whose breathtaking artistry reflects their own deep understanding of pleasure boating and competition.
Paintings on loan from prestigious international collections, including the Musée d’Orsay, Paris; the Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam; the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles; and private collections will be joined by paintings and works on paper from the Fine Arts Museums’ own holdings.
Guest curators Christopher Lloyd, former keeper of Queen Elizabeth II’s collection; Phillip Dennis Cate, former director of the Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers University; and renowned marine historian Daniel Charles will illuminate the personal interactions of leading French artists with yachting and, more broadly, underscore the important role that access to the sea and extensive inland waterways played in the development of the art, culture, and commerce of France.
Examination of the Impressionists’ engagement with boating as both pastime and artistic subject is at the heart of the exhibition. In the countryside west of Paris new patterns of life, including the idea of middle-class leisure, reflected the social and economic energies of an emerging modern world. Artistic innovations such as painting out of doors developed to capture the spirit and quick pace of recreational activities. The Impressionists’ brushwork suggests both the atmospheric effects and the sensations of movement that contribute to the invigorating experience of boating.
Exhibition organized by the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. Major Patron: Mrs. George F. Jewett. Patron: Mrs. James K. McWilliams. Additional support is provided by the Estate of Donald Casey and the Bequest of Lois E. Kalb. Media sponsor support: San Francisco Chronicle | SFGate.com and KSFO 560 AM. Supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities. Community Partner: Ghirardelli Chocolate Company.