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Arts & Culture

Exhibit And Lecture Series Making Big Impression At The McNay

The McNay Art Museum’s “Intimate Impressionism” exhibit gets a boost from an impressionism expert. More on that below, but about the exhibit itself--there are nearly seventy paintings of French Impressionists and Post-Impressionists, most of them from the National Gallery, on display at the McNay. The paintings don't seem edgy now, but the Impressionists really shook things up at the time in the world of art. 

"The academic painters that they were sort of rebelling against didn’t want you to see the brush work, whereas the impressionists really wanted you to appreciate the materiality of the medium they were working in,” says the McNay's director, William Chiego.

Impressionists wanted art lovers to actually notice the paint, notice their brush strokes.

“Over a decade or two they became more and more accepted and successful, but at first they were rejected,” explained Chiego.

One of those now highly revered artists was Paul Gauguin, who Chiego says left his life as a banker to become an artist.  

“He was very much a maverick in that sense. He began to use color in a much more emotional way. Not to be accurate to nature so much as accurate to the emotions he was trying to convey.”

And he started painting self-portraits. Lots of them.

Richard Brettell, a noted academic expert on Gauguin, will address those self-portraits and more in a talk at the McNay on Sunday, October 12 at 3 p.m.  

Chiego says attendees will be able to hear the stories behind the art, then after the talk, go see the art itself.

"He’s very energetic," he said about Brettell. "He’s a one-man industry in terms of Art History of publications for this period in French painting. He’s a very entertaining lecturer too.”

Read more about the McNay and the Distinguished Lecture Series here.