John Leslie Breck: American Impressionist
Mint Museum Uptown
September 18, 2021 – January 2, 2022 (traveling thereafter)
Inspired by The Mint Museum’s 2016 acquisition of John Leslie Breck’s canvas Suzanne Hoschedé-Monet Sewing, this exhibition includes approximately 70 of Breck’s finest works, drawn from public and private collections as well as the illustrious Terra Foundation collection of American art. Many of the works in the exhibition have not been on public view in more than a century.
In addition to Breck’s landscape-inspired works, the exhibition highlights his exploration of new styles and approaches to painting in the years before his early death at the age of 38. More than 10 related paintings by Breck’s French and American Impressionist colleagues, including Theodore Robinson, Willard Metcalf, and Lila Cabot Perry, are also featured in the exhibition.
A look at the life of John Leslie Breck
In 1887, Breck was one of the founders of the American art colony at Giverny and was among the earliest American artists to embrace the Impressionist style. He was also one of the first to exhibit his Impressionist paintings in America and helped to popularize the style during his years working in the Boston area in the 1890s.
Between 1887 and 1888 he and a handful of his American colleagues began visiting the French village of Giverny, where they met Claude Monet and subsequently explored the new approach to painting that Monet had helped to pioneer. Breck’s canvases from this period, loosely brushed and filled with light and color, are a marked departure from his earlier works that are characterized by darker tonalities and tighter brushwork that typified the preferred style of the era. When Breck returned to America in 1892, he applied what he had learned to paintings of the New England landscape and frequently exhibited his work.
Along with his scenes of Giverny and America, this exhibition features a selection of paintings from his sojourn in Venice in 1897. Always interested exploring in new ways of seeing the world, Breck had begun to explore aspects of post-Impressionism and Asian aesthetics in the years before his early death, at the age of 39, in 1899.
Funding for this exhibition is provided by Bank of America, The Mint Museum Auxiliary, and The Mr. and Mrs. Raymond J. Horowitz Foundation for the Arts.