I’ve never been to Indiana, let alone to the Indianapolis Museum of Art, so this is not a first person account. It is rather the happy result of one of my art browsing habits, using the Museum Listing feature of the Athenaeum online art resource to browse a skimming of various museums’ collections (see my post on The Athenaeum).
The Athenaeum’s page for the Indianapolis Museum of Art caught my attention with pieces by John Singer Sargent, Edmund Tarbell and William Merritt Chase.
On arriving at the museum’s site, I immediately clicked through to their collection of American Painting and Sculpture to 1945, and from there started browsing through the little interactive slide presentation for American Impressionism, one of my favorite schools of painting.
Though not the most convenient browsing arrangement (a simple page of thumbnails would be better, but museums seem to love these widgets), it is still a way into the collection, clicking on the thumbnails to particular piece, then clicking through to a page of works by that artist in the museum’s collection.
To my delight, I found that not only does the museum have a terrific collection of American Impressionism, which is deep for some artists, like William Merritt Chase, they also have a nice method of presentation for works in the collection.
Thumbnails are linked to a decently sized image that opens in a pop-up, instead of the tiny cramped Zooming windows favored by many museums, letting you get a much better feeling for the work as a whole.
In addition they often have several photos of the same work, some of which have color and value reference cards in the photos, making it possible to get an accurate take on the color of the image. What a great feature! So many images of artworks on the web are off-color, even those posted by the most prestigious museums.
My exploration of the site has been brief so far, and the images I’ve chosen to highlight are more representative of my own preferences than the museum’s collections, but I was also impressed with their holdings in European Painting and Sculpture.
One might wish for a list based browsing feature, allowing an easier grasp of the holdings in a particular area, but you can search the collections for specific artist, or using broader terms like, oh, say… “American Impressionism“.
The collection online looks well worth investigating in depth, and of course, for those who live close enough to travel to the museum in person, a treat to visit.