As much as I admire the original French Impressionists, I’m frequently even more drawn to the work of the American Impressionists, who, though not part of a formal movement, took elements of the impressionist approach and applied them to their own unique vision, resulting in a wonderful variety of painterly realism.
A subset of American Impressionism of which I’m particularly fond is a group of artists who painted around the turn of the 20th century in Bucks County, Pennsylvania and the nearby areas of New Jersey, who are often referred to as the New Hope school, or the Pennsylvania Impressionists.
Sotter is known for his portrayals of houses and trees in the Pennsylvania countryside, along with his large scale depictions of skies filled with billowing cumulous clouds, and in particular, his remarkable, luminous winter nocturnes.
The James A. Michener Museum in Doylestown, PA, which is home to what is likely the best single collection of work by the Pennsylvania Impressionists, has mounted a wonderful retrospective of Sotter’s work: George Sotter: Light and Shadow.
It’s a beautiful and extensive show, augmented with some of Sotter’s stained glass design work, as well as a selection of nocturnes by other Pennsylvania Impressionist painters.
Some of Sotter’s smaller works, which are a delight, are included, along with preliminary sketches and studies.
Unfortunately, the museum has little in the way of pieces from the exhibition on their website, though they have a few more here, and here. I’ve added links below to other resources for images of Sotter’s work.
It constantly baffles me that museums don’t better leverage images on their websites to generate interest in their exhibitions — particularly smaller, regional museums that now have the opportunity to more easily reach outside their immediate area to appeal to potential visitors.
Doylestown is within an hour of Philadelphia, and perhaps an hour and a half from NYC. The show would be of interest to anyone interested in Pennsylvania Impressionism, American Impressionism, nocturne painting or painterly realism in general.
Sotter’s work can be appreciated in context next to the Michener Museum’s permanent collection galleries of work by other Pennsylvania Impressionist painters.
George Sotter: Light and Shadow is on display until December 31, 2017.
See also my previous post on George Sotter.