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Family Matters: American Impressionism and Realism

April 27 - July 27, 2003


The Hyde's friend and art critic Royal Cortissoz once wrote "Art is, after all, a social thing." For museum founders Louis and Charlotte Hyde art was also a family thing. The exhibition Family Matters: American Impressionism and Realism will explore, for the first time, the collection of American art acquired by the Hydes, and their relatives: namely, Nell Cunningham and Mary Hoopes, Charlotte Hyde's sisters.

Mr. and Mrs. Hyde are well known for amassing an important collection of Old Master paintings and drawings; however, years before they purchased their first work of European art they were actively acquiring significant works by American artists. Family Matters will address this topic by featuring works they acquired that are part of the permanent collection, and several works on loan including the 1909 portrait of the Hyde's daughter Mary Van Ness by Edmund Charles Tarbell, the leading American Impressionist artist and founding member of the Ten American Painters. In fact, the Hyde family preferred the works of The Ten, They acquired Childe Hassam's Geraniums of 1889 in 1930, and the pastel Girl in the Garden from 1896, was the last artwork purchased by Mrs. Hyde just three years before her death. Three landscapes by Willard L. Metcalf, bought by Nell Cunningham, and an exquisite pastel The Ledges by John Henry Twatchman that she acquired in 1928, will also be featured in this exhibition of works by America's leading Impressionist painters.

Louis and Charlotte Hyde are at the center of his family's collecting activity, They were well connected to an influential network of dealers, critics and collectors including Edward and Albert Milch, John Gellatly and Royal Cortissoz. The voluminous correspondence in the museum's archive reveals the Hyde's avid, yet discerning interest in the work of contemporary American artists, The family sought their advice, trusted their judgment, and in some cases the Hydes acquired artwork on their behalf.

The Hydes preferred certain artists and among their earliest purchases were works by artists Frank Duveneck, Childe Hassam, James McNeil Whistler, Abbott Handerson Thayer, and Elihu Vedder. Later, after Mr. Hyde's death in 1934, Charlotte Hyde would continue to acquire American art adding significant works by Thomas Eakins, John Frederick Peto, Albert Pinkham Ryder and Winslow Homer to her collection.

Family Matters will include around twenty-five works including paintings, works on paper, and small sculptures, Paintings by Albert Bierstadt, William Merritt Chase and Andrew Wyeth will also be included. Sculptures featured include works by Anna Hyatt Huntington, Malvina Cornell Hoffman and Janet Scudder. A color brochure will accompany the exhibition as a complimentary guide for visitors with an essay authored by Hyde curator Erin Budis Coe. A slide and gallery talk will be presented on April 26, 2003 at 2 PM by the curator.


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Search for more articles and essays on American art in Resource Library. See America's Distinguished Artists for biographical information on historic artists.

This page was originally published in 2003 in Resource Library Magazine. Please see Resource Library's Overview section for more information.

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