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Coming Soon: The Lens of Impressionism

December 1, 2009

Last week, while spending Thanksgiving with my family in Michigan, I convinced my sister to drive me to Ann Arbor to visit The University of Michigan Museum of Art. I love the UMMA and always look for any excuse to visit when I am home, but this time I had a special assignment. I was there to do background research as we plan tours, teacher workshops, and online teaching materials for The Lens of Impressionism: Photography and Painting Along the Normandy Coast, 1850—1874, an exhibition that will open at the DMA on February 21, 2010.

The Lens of Impressionism at The University of Michigan Museum of Art

The Lens of Impressionism is a great exhibition for teaching about artistic process—you can look at images of the same stretch of coastline and compare what painters and photographers are choosing to include in their compositions. To me, the highlight of the exhibition was seeing a handful of original paper negatives, dating to the 1850s. I can’t even begin to imagine how hard it would be to preserve a paper negative for 150 years. The negatives were displayed in lightboxes next to contemporary prints made from the negatives. They provide a great tool for teaching about photography and making photographic prints—something students may not know about in our digital age.

One of my favorite paintings from the Detroit Institute of Arts is in the exhibition—Edouard Manet’s On the Beach (Sur la plage)—and I can’t wait until it arrives in Dallas and I can visit it whenever I like. However, I think I may have a new favorite painting: Eugène Boudin’s Bathing Time at Deauville, from the National Gallery of Art. Men and women visit the beach dressed in their Sunday best—it’s definitely very different from what we wear to the beach today! I also love the horses and dogs that stand on the shore, and I think this will be a fun painting to explore with students on tours.

We will be offering a variety of programs for students and teachers relating to The Lens of Impressionism: Photography and Painting Along the Normandy Coast, 1850—1874, including an Evening for Educators on February 23, 2010. Visit our website for additional information on tours and teacher workshops, and be sure to check back in February for a new set of online teaching materials.

Me, outside of the UMMA

Shannon Karol
Tour Coordinator

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