February is a time to fall in love-- with people but also with painters. For those with a lifelong love affair with art, don't walk but run to the Metropolitan Museum of Art to check out the newly renovated American Wing. Many paintings pulled from its permanent collections are now arranged both chronologically as well as thematically. One gallery is better than the next with the stately space, well lit rooms and reframed masterpieces. You will fall in love all over again with many of your favorite painters. One room that made my heart leap included the American Impressionists. Along with some of the finest examples of mother child paintings by Mary Cassatt, is an unusual example of a still life. A dark aubergine vase containing purple and white lilacs is presented with an angular fluency and dash characteristic of Cassatt's best work,. Cassatt, who concentrated on portraying the human figure, rarely painted pure still life.
In the same gallery, you will find two more large paintings that also have dominant colors of purples and lilacs. A striking Nude on display is a painting called Summer. The nude figure is depicted with lavender skin tones. in a glorious high key color palette next to a clothed woman. The artist,
Summer, Frederick Carl Frieseke
Frederick Carl Frieseke, was among a group of American Impressionist artists who settled in the French village of Giverny, forty miles northwest of Paris. This group, which lived in Giverny in the early 1900s, is sometimes referred to as the Giverny Luminists, was attracted to the village by the presence of the great French Impressionist Claude Monet, who had settled there in 1883.
Fleur de Lis, Robert Reid
Another striking painting in this gallery is by Robert Lewis Reid, an American Impressionistpainter and muralist. Robert Reid was born in Stockbridge, Massachusetts and attended the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and at the Art Students League, and in 1885 he went to Paris to study at the Académie Julian. His early pictures were figures of French peasants.