Ruth’s favorite was Renoir’s “Heads of 2 Young Girls”. It was among the 53 works in a just opened exhibition at the underrated Tacoma Art Museum. This show is called “French Impressionism and the Northwest” because it contains art works on loan from 10 Northwestern U. S. institutions and many private collectors in the Tacoma area. That’s why it’s on my priority list. It only opened on September 28 but will go away on January 4, 2020. It will not travel, I was told, because all of what’s on view is from private collections or other area museums. If you’re a big fan of The Impressionists, like Monet, go see it because this is perhaps your only chance to see some of these works. On the other hand, it’s not worth a special trip to Tacoma unless you’re an art student, highly interested, or plan to be in the area soon. There is a catalog available.
This is not a big exhibit with only 53 works; 39 of them are by French artists and 14 are by American and Northwest artists like C. C. McKim, who moved from Maine to Oregon and adopted the Impressionist-style in paintings above like the autumnal “Patton Creek”. There’s more attention paid to female artists whom you may not have heard of in this exhibit like Cecilia Beaux. She had a successful career as a teacher at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and painted Mrs. Theodore Roosevelt and her daughter (below), which is not impressionistic but well done and has found its way into a Northwest private collection. Other women artists in this show are Berthe Morisot and American Mary Cassatt. Many of the works on view are by Impressionists with recognizable names who are less lauded, like the estimable Gustave Caillebotte, frequent boat painter.
This is a small but vivid exhibit that could be extended but probably won’t be given its focus on private, regional collections. This museum also has a lot of works worth seeing by Northwest glass creator Dale Chihuly, and it specializes in Northwest Native American works.