American Impressionism: Treasures from the Daywood Collection

October 9, 2022 - January 8, 2023

American Impressionism: Treasures from the Daywood Collection features 41 paintings that embody the evocative, timeless beauty of late 19th and early 20th century American art. This singular collection, drawn from the Huntington Museum of Art, highlights a pivotal period, when artists began to shake off the rigors of the traditional academic hierarchies and to embrace the creative freedoms and innovations of their European counterparts. Inspired by their training abroad, these painters adopted the shimmering light, warm colors, and expressive brushwork of French Impressionism. Many of them turned their painterly gaze away from the industrialization and urbanization of their country in favor of intimate portraits, quiet scenes of domestic life, and poetic views of the American landscape. 

As the Impressionists began to dominate the European scene in the 1870s, American artists such as John Twachtman, J. Alden Weir, and Willard Metcalf adapted some of the movement’s more striking effects and techniques to the lush landscapes of their own country. Like the European Impressionists, many of these artists favored working “en plein air” —outside in the open landscape—rather than in the more formal setting of the indoor studio. Figure painters also gravitated to Impressionism, arranging their  subjects in relaxed poses amid natural surroundings and cozy interiors.

Several artists in American Impressionism are primarily associated with the Realist movement. Though often characterized as opposing camps, the Impressionists and Realists—in terms of style, compositional experimentation, and rejection of traditional subjects—shared many affinities

The Daywood Collection is named for its original owners, Arthur Dayton and Ruth Woods Dayton, whose family surnames combine to form “Daywood.” They were prominent art patrons in early 20th century West Virginia, who sought to preserve and share artworks that they felt captured the essence of American life.

American Impressionism: Treasures from the Daywood Collection was organized by the Huntington Museum of Art and is toured by International Arts & Artists, Washington, DC 


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