Pennsylvania Impressionism

Pennsylvania Impressionism refers to an American Impressionist movement from the first half of the 20th century that was centered in and around Bucks County, Pennsylvania, particularly the area around the town of New Hope. The movement is sometimes referred to as the "New Hope School" or the "Pennsylvania School" of landscape painting.

The movement

Artists in the Pennsylvania Impressionism movement include but are not limited to: John Fulton Folinsbee, Walter Emerson Baum, Rae Sloan Bredin, George Sotter, Nate Dunn, Fern Coppedge, Edward Redfield, Daniel Garber, Roy Cleveland Nuse, Mary Elizabeth Price and Walter E. Schofield. Similar to the French impressionist movement, this style of art is characterized by an interest in the quality of color, light, and the time of day. This group of artists usually painted en plein air, or out of doors, to capture the moment. According to James A. Michener Art Museum’s Senior Curator Brian Peterson, “what most characterized Pennsylvania impressionism was not a single, unified style but rather the emergence of many mature, distinctive voices: Daniel Garber's luminous, poetic renditions of the Delaware River; Fern Coppedge's colorful village scenes; Robert Spencer's lyrical views of mills and tenements; John Folinsbee's moody, expressionistic snowscapes; and William L. Lathrop's deeply felt, evocative Bucks County vistas."

Art historian Thomas C. Folk defines the movement as the Late Pennsylvania School, those artists that "came to prominence in Bucks County after 1915 or after the Armory Show and the Panama-Pacific International Exposition." According to Folk, the three most notable artists in this group were John Fulton Folinsbee, Walter Emerson Baum and George Sotter.

One of the artists, Walter Emerson Baum, worked as a teacher and educator and through his founding of the Baum School of Art and the Allentown Art Museum, would serve to expand the influence of the movement out of Bucks County and into Lehigh County, specifically Allentown and the Lehigh Valley, where the movement continued to flourish into the 1940s and 1950s. Today, this group of artists is collectively known as the Baum Circle.

See also


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