American Impressionism centered around Boston and New York, a relatively small group of practitioners in the last decade of the 19th century. Many of these, including Frank Benson, Edmund Tarbell, and Mary Cassatt, adopted the bright Impressionist palette after exposure to the work of its masters in France. Indeed, a handful of American exponents of Impressionism, including Cassatt and William Merritt Chase, are more closely associated with European collectors, while another group of painters returned to the United States after a rapidly absorbing the French ideas of light and composition. Among the latter were Benson, as well as John Henry Twachtman and Robert Reid, who studied at the Académie Julian, and returned to continue in the mode in the Philadelphia, New York and Boston areas. Dissatisfied at the conservative exclusions of the National Academy, a group of painters, mostly impressionists, broke ranks to form a group soon to be known as simply The Ten. The Ten formed a core of American Impressionism, and exerted a profound influence on the national taste for several decades. In the early years of the 20th century, another group of young upstarts rebelled against the conservative Academy and the high polish of the cult of John Singer Sargent. Centered around New York and Philadelphia, The Eight, along with a handful of others, focused on urban scenes and bolder executions than the tastes of Academic refinement or even the Impressionists. Their enthusiasm for daily-life subjects and a variety of “low” media, including illustrational and cartoon draftsmanship earned them the epithet “the Ashcan School,” suggesting the disposability of their work, but today the finer works of Robert Henri, Thomas Anschutz and others in their circle are highly sought after for their immediacy and urban sophistication.

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Hudson River School and other Nineteenth Century · Modernism and other Twentieth Century