Impressionist on the Water Exhibit Celebrates Maritime Art at Salem's PEM


Auguste Renoir, Oarsmen at Chatou. National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC. Gift of Sam A. Lewisohn, Courtesy National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC.


From November 9, 2013 to February 17, 2004, Impressionism will take over the Peabody Essex Museum (PEM) with an exhibition highlighting Maritime history from the birth of its movement to its lasting affects in the Impressionism world. Impressionists on the Water will feature more than 90 paintings, prints, models and photographs all paying homage to France’s waterways and oceans. 

Gustave Caillebotte, Boating on the Yerres (Périssoires sur L’Yerres). Milwaukee Art Museum, Gift of the Milwaukee Journal Company, in honor of Miss Faye McBeath. Photograph by John R. Glembin


Through the works of Manet, Monet, Renoir, Caillebotte, Pissarro, Sisley, Seurat, and Signac among others, the exhibition hopes to reflect the artist’s appreciation of water and the boats that regularly sailed its seas. Attendees will also get to journey from the traditional to today’s more modern art.

Gustave Caillebotte, Règates à Argenteuil. Private collection


Many of the maritime art is part in thanks to many of the artists spending their own time out on the water on riverboats, leisure craft and floating studios. Of the artists, Gustave Caillebotte, who was himself a sailor, boat designer and successful racer, is considered Frances’s most successful yachtsman artist of the 19th century. Caillebotte, whose family’s estate sat on the banks of the Seine, regularly depicted the watercraft and nautical conditions and designed and created nearly 25 boats.

Claude Monet, Monet’s Studio-boat, (Le bateau-atelier). Collection Kröller-Müller Museum, Otterlo, The Netherlands


For Monet, his love of the deep blue was inspired by the example of Charles-François Daubigny’s floating studio. Building his own studio boat in the mid-1870s, his vessel gave him a better understanding of the water, its landscape, and conditions of the river environment. Depicted in his 1874 painting, the boat helped give him his celebrated perspective for the framing of light, water and sky.


Charles-François Daubigny, The Village of Gloton. Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco, Mildred Anna William Collections ©Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco


The opening festival takes place on Sunday, November 10 from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and will include gallery talks, art making, a film and presentations. From 3:30-4:30 p.m., the film The Impressionists: Painting and Revolution, The Great Outdoors will take place in the Morse Auditorium from art critic, writer and filmmaker Waldemar Januszczak who visited the vistas and waters that inspired Impressionist artists.

Eugène Louis Boudin, Harbor at Bordeaux (Port de Bordeaux). Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Grover A. Magnin ©Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco


Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco organized the event while support was provided by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities and the East India Marine Associates of the PEM. Impressionists on the Water is co-curated by Phillip Dennis Cate, former director of the Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers University; Christopher Lloyd, former Surveyor of Queen Elizabeth II’s collection; and Daniel Charles, author and historian of marine technology. The coordinating curator is Daniel Finamore, PEM’s Russell W. Knight Curator of Maritime Art and History.


The exhibits will be open Tuesday-Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and the third Thursday of every month until 9:30 p.m.