Pennsylvania Impressionism is a term rather loosely applied to a group of late 19th and early 20th century painters who lived and worked in and around the artist colony that existed at the time in New Hope, Pennsylvania and Lambertville, New Jersey, small towns that straddle either side of the Delaware River north of Philadelphia.
American Impressionism, an even more broadly applied term, refers to American painters who were influenced by the French Impressionists, but the range and variety of their styles is considerable.
New York, Boston and several spots in California were centers for these painters and their new and radical styles, Philadelphia, although a major art center at the time, was less welcoming to these styles, largely due to the strong influence of Thomas Eakins and his allies, who favored a more traditional academic approach.
So the painters in the Philadelphia area who were drawn to this new style of painting gravitated to the area of New Hope, to an art colony started by William Lathrop and drawn by the powerful influence of Edward Redfield and Daniel Garber.
Currently, the James Michener Museum, in nearby Doylestown, PA, houses one of the strongest collections of work by the Pennsylvania Impressionists. The museum recently hosted what I believe was the largest exhibition of works by these artists ever assembled.
Unfortunately the exhibition ended April 1. I have to apologize to those in the area who missed the show for my late coverage (and I regret that I only could find time for a single visit myself), but the museum continues to maintain their online exhibit for the exhibition: The Painterly Voice: Buck’s County’s Fertile Ground.
The online feature is accessed from a drop down menu in sections for artists or groups of artists. Within those sections, navigation between images is handled with arrows that are confusingly outside the apparent limits of the page, against the background on either side.
When you discover an artist you like, note the links at right of each entry to even more images by that artist to be found in the Michener Museum’s Collection Database and Bucks County Artist Database.
For those who would like to follow up with books, there are two excellent volumes that cover a broad range of these artists and their works: Pennsylvania Impressionism by Brian H. Peterson is the most scholarly and definitive and has beautiful reproductions; A New Hope for American Art by Jim Alterman (also here) is huge, stuffed with 1,000 color plates, and covers many of the less well known artists in more detail.
You can also find additional titles on individual artists in the Michener Museum’s online shop.
(Images above: William L. Lathrop, Edward Redfield, Daniel Garber, Rae Sloan Bredin, Arthur Meltzer, Charles Rosen, M. Elizabeth Price, Kenneth Nunamaker, Walter Elmer Schofield, Roy C. Nuse, Fern I. Coppedge, Robert Spencer, Roy Francis Taylor, George Sotter)