Coinciding with San Francisco's hosting of the America's Cup races this summer, the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco will feature the works of great Impressionists depicting life on the water with boats.
Another side of nautical life will be revealed by more than 80 remarkable paintings and works by Impressionists such as Claude Monet, Gustave Caillebotte, Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Camille Pissarro and Post-Impressionists such as Maurice Denis and Paul Signac — artists who reflect their deep understanding of pleasure boating and competition through their work.
Paintings on loan from prestigious international collections, including the Musée d’Orsay, Paris; the Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam; the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles; and private collections will be joined by paintings and works on paper from the Fine Arts Museums’ own holdings.
Examination of the Impressionists’ engagement with boating as both pastime and artistic subject is at the heart of the exhibition. In the countryside west of Paris new patterns of life, including the idea of middle-class leisure, reflected the social and economic energies of an emerging modern world. Artistic innovations such as painting out of doors developed to capture the spirit and quick pace of recreational activities. The Impressionists’ brushwork suggests both the atmospheric effects and the sensations of movement that contribute to the invigorating experience of boating.
Guest curators Christopher Lloyd, former keeper of Queen Elizabeth II’s collection; Phillip Dennis Cate, former director of the Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers University; and renowned marine historian Daniel Charles will illuminate the personal interactions of leading French artists with yachting and, more broadly, underscore the important role that access to the sea and extensive inland waterways played in the development of the art, culture, and commerce of France.