Press Release


COLUMBIA, SC – The Columbia Museum of Art showcases 55 masterworks from the Dixon Gallery and Gardens in the exhibition, Impressionism from Monet to Matisse on view from January 25 through April 21, 2013. The exhibition features paintings by the well-known leaders of French Impressionism: Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Camille Pissarro and Alfred Sisley as well as paintings by America’s most noted Impressionist painters, Mary Cassatt and John Singer Sargent. Major modern paintings by Paul Cézanne, Paul Gauguin and Georges Braque are also on view.

“The Museum is delighted to bring this important exhibition to Columbia, giving visitors around the Southeast the chance to see incredibly beautiful works of art by some of the world’s greatest Impressionist artists. We are grateful to the Dixon Gallery and Gardens for sharing their superb collection,” CMA Executive Director, Karen Brosius, said.

“The Dixon’s French Impressionist paintings are utterly beautiful but they are also works of considerable historical significance,” Dixon Gallery and Gardens Director, Kevin Sharp, said. “Some of these canvases were first seen in the original Impressionist shows of the 1870s and 1880s in Paris. These remarkable paintings speak eloquently to a fascinating age and the triumph of modern art in Europe. The Dixon is delighted to be sharing these treasures with the Columbia Museum of Art and its members and visitors.”

The exhibition is presented by BB&T. Supporting sponsors include: SCE&G, BlueCross BlueShield of SC, Dr. Suzan D. Boyd and Mr. M. Edward Sellers and Helen and John Hill. Contributing Sponsors include: Family Medicine Centers of South Carolina, P.A., Haynsworth Sinkler Boyd, P.A., Smith Family Foundation, Colonial Life, Dr. and Mrs. Thomas E. Hearon, III and Mary Kent Hearon, Ms. Jodie W. McLean and Mr. Pierre de Lucy, Michel G. Moore, Ginny Newell and Bob Wilkins, Mrs. Myrtle T. Robinson in memory of Dr. Robert E. Robinson, Richland County and Columbia Marriott.

The Impressionists’ desire to look at the world with a new freshness and immediacy continues to appeal to audiences today, making it the most popular style of painting in the world. The Impressionists were radical in their own time because “High Art” was supposed to depict gods, heroes and wars subjects believed to be timeless. Instead, they painted the world we actually live in, one with average people seated having a drink at a café, train stations, dancers, or an empty field of poppies. Instead of creating painstakingly detailed paintings, they explored the way we actually see: they saw and captured the purple and blue of shadows, and the vibrating yellow, pink and green colors of the sky. Critics of the 19th century saw them as scandalous and the word “impressionist” was originally an insult. Now, we see that the Impressionists were really the first modern artists, painting contemporary life around them.

Typical of the Impressionists’ approach is Claude Monet’s Village Street of 1871. The scene is humble and ordinary, but the real subject is the dramatic play of light and shadow moving across the street in broad swaths of energetic paint. A freshening wind enlivens the sky, and swiftly applied daubs of green define the foliage. Monet’s art dances between realism and abstraction as it evokes nature’s atmosphere at the same time it calls attention to the reality of paint itself on the canvas.

In a similar way, Pierre-Auguste Renoir creates a world of color by painting a single slice of the English Channel in his swirl of color entitled, The Wave, from 1882. In The Wave, we see how important color itself was to the Impressionists. The result of this passion for color was a style of painting unparalleled for its scintillating surfaces and dynamic color relationships.

Figurative work in the show includes Edgar Degas’ Dancer Adjusting Her Shoe, 1885, a prime example of Degas’ breathtakingly fluid draftsmanship and near-photographic instinct for capturing a fleeting moment. Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec’s Dancer Seated on a Pink Divan, c. 1883, is more stately in its quiet, lucid presentation of a dancer at rest, but no less fresh in its sense of freezing an intimate and unguarded moment in time.

In Henri Matisse’s bold canvas, The Palace, Belle Isle, visitors see a very young Matisse moving away from Impressionism toward the powerful and arbitrary color for which he is famous and which inspired so much modern art to follow.

Indeed, the father of modernist painting, Paul Cézanne, is present in this show with a painting entitled, Trees and Rocks near the Chateau Noir, c. 1900. In his striking use of flat, intersecting planes of color, one sees his painting as standing on the precipice of Cubism and the many movements that would follow in his wake.

Beyond Impressionism, this extraordinary show includes the work of post-Impressionists Maximilien Luce and Henri-Edmond Cross who are so called because they wished to bring a more systematic approach to color theory into Impressionism. Inspired by Georges Seurat, their use of carefully plotted, tiny dots of color coalesce into solid images of hillsides and castles bathed in electric light.

Impressionism from Monet to Matisse features a few surprises with the inclusion of a number of academic paintings – meaning, detailed, traditional painting – to show visitors a contrast to the Impressionist and modern paintings. The highlight is Henri Fantin-Latour’s elegant and precious Still Life of 1869. Modest in its subject matter a simple vase of white flowers behind a bowl of mixed fruits is as refined and poetic as it is unpretentious. For artists and visitors, this still life is a grand lesson in the power of simplicity mixed with discipline.

“The rewards in seeing a show like Impressionism from Monet to Matisse are really too numerous to mention,” CMA chief curator, Will South, said. “There is the sheer joy of the art itself, alive with color and optimism. There is the serious inquiry into the intellectual stimulation possible via sophisticated composition, and there is the unadulterated fun of comparing one great artist to another. This is a show full of artistic richness where one may meditate for hours on why painting continues to fire our imaginations.”

Members of the CMA have free unlimited access to the exhibition. Individual tickets are $15. Adult Group Tours are $12 per person and can be reserved by emailing

This exhibition was organized by the Dixon Gallery and Gardens, Memphis, Tennessee.

About the Dixon Gallery and Gardens
Founded in 1976 by Hugo and Margaret Dixon, the Dixon Gallery and Gardens is a fine art museum and public garden distinguished by its diverse and innovative programs in the arts and horticulture. The Dixon features a permanent collection of over 2,000 objects, including French and American Impressionist paintings and significant holdings of German and English porcelain. The Dixon’s 17-acre campus is a highly regarded public garden that includes formal spaces, woodland tracts, and cutting gardens. The Dixon is accredited by the American Association Museums and is a member of the American Public Gardens Association and Botanical Gardens Conservation International.


Film: PBS American Visions: A Wave from the Atlantic
Thursday, January 3 | Noon
Saturday, January 12 | 1:00 p.m.
Saturday, January 26 | 1:00 p.m.
American Visions, an eight-part series on American art written and narrated by Time magazine art critic Robert Hughes, is both an account of American life and a tribute to American art. Filmed in 100 locations around the country, covering everything from Quaker to Shaker, George Washington to Bierstadt, Remington to Warhol, and the skyscrapers of New York City, Hughes has applied his considerable wit and imagination to the problem of revealing how art records and preserves both points of view and ways of life. It is American history told through art, not merely a history of art. It offers a perspective that is refreshingly elevating and inclusive. In A Wave from the Atlantic, Hughes further explores the legacy of technology while considering immigration and urbanism in turn-of-the-century American art. As a transplanted Australian, Hughes has personal experience with the process of turning “foreigners into Americans.” "Overlay and mixture," he asserts, "is fundamental to American life." But it inevitably breeds conflict and differing values. 105 minutes. Free with membership or admission.

Lecture Series: Monet to Matisse: Impressionism to Fauvism
Wednesdays, January 9 - January 30 | 10:00 – 11:00 a.m.
USC Art Professor Dr. Bradford Collins traces the major developments in French painting in this four-part lecture series. Lecture topics include the birth of Impressionism, the work of major Post-Impressionists and the development of Fauvism during the first decade of the 20th century. $60 / $45 for members / $15 for single lecture.

Members’ Exhibition Preview Celebration: Impressionism from Monet to Matisse
Thursday, January 24 | 6:00 p.m.
Members see it first! Tour the exhibition and attend a lecture by Kevin Sharp, director of the Dixon Museum and Gardens, at 6:30 p.m. or 7:30 p.m. Individual membership admits one; all other membership levels admit two. Light hors d’oeuvres and cash bar. Members with reservations only. To RSVP or become a member, visit or call 803.343.2198.

Opening Day Lecture: Impressionism from Monet to Matisse
Friday, January 25 | Noon
CMA chief curator Dr. Will South discusses the exhibition Impressionism from Monet to Matisse and offers insight into the artists and their work. Free with membership or admission.

Arts & Draughts
Friday, February 1 | 7:00 – 11:00 p.m.
It’s time for another high-octane, art party! Enjoy beer tastings from The Whig, D.I.Y art projects, interactive art, scavenger hunts, a unique perspective tour through Impressionism from Monet to Matisse and musical performances featuring bands from Fork and Spoon Records. The party-like atmosphere of the event engages guests with the art and with the CMA, many for the first time. Sponsored by The Whig, WXRY and Free Times. $8 / $5 for members / Become a member or renew your membership at the party and get free admission!

Film: Art of the Western World
Thursday, February 7 | Noon
Saturday, February 9 | 1:00 p.m.
Saturday, February 23 | 1:00 p.m.
Art of the Western World presents works within a religious, intellectual and social context. Host Michael Wood, along with a team of international art experts, provides the ultimate guided tour through two millennia of creative genius. Part one, An Age of Reason, An Age of Passion, shows how the playful fantasy and provocative subjects of the Rococo style gave way to strict rationalism. Striving for individual expression, Romantic painters Goya, Gericault, and Delacroix demonstrated a range of styles and subjects. Part two features the first giants of the modern age from Courbet and Manet to the Impressionists Monet, Degas and Renoir. It also showcases the masters of Post-Impressionism, van Gogh, Cézanne, Seurat and Gauguin. 114 minutes. Free with membership or admission.

Artist Salon Series: Columbia Classical Ballet
Friday, February 8 | Noon
The Artist Salon Series features gallery talks, led by working artists, about a wide range of subjects, topics and disciplines. Columbia Classical Ballet dancers perform an original work inspired by the exhibition Impressionism from Monet to Matisse. Artistic Director Radenko Pavlovich and Resident Choreographer Simone Cuttino discuss their creative processes and influences. Free with membership or admission.

Floral Demonstration by Someone Special
Friday, February 22 | Noon
Something Special florist, Grant Lorick, creates arrangements in the CMA that are inspired by the exhibition Impressionism from Monet to Matisse. Free with membership or admission.

Wee Wednesdays: Monet and Me
Wednesday, March 6 | 10:00 - 11:00 a.m.
Travel through the colorful landscapes in Impressionism from Monet to Matisse and create a landscape overflowing with color. Participants (ages 2-5) and their adult companions explore art through the introduction of elementary art terms such as color, line, shape and texture during the Wee Wednesday series. This five-series program includes story time and a creative studio activity related to the art exploration theme. One adult and one child is $36 / $18 for KidsPlus! members and above for the remaining spring season. Each additional child is $15. Supported by SCE&G.

Art Class: Figure Drawing for Beginners and the Semi-Awesome
Wednesdays, March 13 – April 17 | 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Ever wonder if you could draw? Maybe it’s been a while and you want to brush up your skills. This six-week class for ages 16+ focuses on drawing fundamentals and provides students the opportunity to work from nude models to develop their abilities. Students learn about gesture, contour, value relationships and comprehension of mass. All materials are provided. Instructor Michael Dwyer is the CMA Exhibition Designer and Preparator. $135 / $108 for members.

Film: Chagall
Thrusday, March 7 | Noon
Saturday, March 16 | 1:00 p.m.
Saturday, March 30 | 1:00 p.m.
Completed just a month after his death in 1985, this film presents the most authoritative film biography of artist Marc Chagall. Weaving his paintings with archival footage and numerous interviews with the artist, it chronicles the long, creative arc of Chagall's life, from his birth in Czarist Russia in 1887 through almost the entirety of the 20th century. A natural Surrealist long before its theory was established, Chagall passed in and out of notoriety, both in Paris and New York. As this film shows, despite his friendship with Andre Breton and other greats, Chagall pursued his own unique artistic vision. 43 minutes. Free with membership or admission.

One Room School House: Luminous Landscapes
Friday, March 8 | 10:00 – 11:30 a.m. or 1:00 – 2:30 p.m.
Students travel through the exhibition Impressionism from Monet to Matisse learning about landscapes, color and light. In the studio, students use what they learned to make luscious and colorful landscapes. This five-series program is designed especially for home-school children (ages 4 and up) and their parents. One adult and one child is $36 / $18 for KidsPlus! members and above for the remaining spring season. Each additional child is $15. Supported by SCE&G.

Performance: Alliance Française
Friday, March 8 | 7:00 p.m.
Sunday, March 10 | 2:00 p.m.
The Club Théâtre of the Alliance Française of Columbia performs sketches and short plays in the French language and inspired by the exhibition Impressionism from Monet to Matisse. Free.

Art Class: Learn to Print in a Day: Monotypes
Saturday, March 9 | 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Students (ages 16+) learn to make monotypes, a technique that makes a single print from a metal or glass plate on which an image has been painted. This technique has been favored by artists since the 17th century and was explored by Rembrandt, Picasso, Matisse, Degas, Chagall and Gauguin. Painter and printmaker Claire Farrell received her training from Duke University, the University of South Carolina, Santa Raparata Art School in Florence, Italy, and Penland School of Craft and Design. She also studied extensively with Ron Pokrasso, a master printmaker and teacher from Santa Fe, NM. All supplies included. $100 / $80 for members.

Passport to Art: Watery Landscapes
Sunday, March 10 | Noon - 3:00 p.m.
Get inspired by the exhibition, Impressionism from Monet to Matisse, and create a water-filled landscape during this monthly open studio program for families. Enjoy a family tour at 1:00 p.m. or take a self-guided tour of the CMA. Free.

Artist Salon Series: Michael Cassidy
Friday, March 15 | Noon
The Artist Salon Series features gallery talks, led by working artists, about a wide range of subjects, topics and disciplines. In this talk, artist Michael Cassidy discusses his own painting process in relation to the exhibition Impressionism from Monet to Matisse. Free with membership or admission.

About Face: Plein Air Painting
Saturday, March 16 | 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Watch About Face members engage in a very French pursuit of plein air painting on Boyd Plaza. Plein air means “in the open air" and is used to describe the act of painting outdoors. Want to join in? Bring your art supplies and we will provide the easel! About Face is a group of artists representing a wide range of ages and abilities and offering a supportive and friendly atmosphere in which to hone artistic skills. Free.

Spring Break Workshop: Monet to Matisse
Monday, April 1 & Tuesday, April 2 | 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. (Grades 1 – 5)
Learn about color and light in the exhibition Impressionism from Monet to Matisse, and create a colorful and textured Monet inspired works. $90 / $72 for Kids Plus! Members and above.

Spring Break Workshop: Painting 101
Monday, April 1 & Tuesday, April 2 | 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. (Grades 9 – 12)
Learn about brushstrokes, light and color in the exhibition Impression from Monet to Matisse. In the studios, students learn about glazes, luminosity and how tools, like palette knives and brayers, can create a different aesthetic in their work. $90 / $72 for Kids Plus! Members and above.

Baker & Baker Art of Music Series presents: Piano Jazz
Friday, April 5 | 7:00 p.m.
The Baker & Baker Art of Music Series presents John Tecklenburg featuring music inspired by the exhibition Impressionism from Monet to Matisse. Tecklenburg studied piano and jazz at the Berklee College of Music in Boston. He plays with various small jazz bands, including a weekly gig with the Gennaro's house band for the last 29 years. He has also produced jazz performances for Piccolo Spoleto, MOJA, and numerous non-profit and community events. $10 / $8 for members.

Artist Salon Series: Stephen Chesley
Friday, April 19 | Noon
The Artist Salon Series features gallery talks, led by working artists, about a wide range of subjects, topics and disciplines. In this talk, artist Stephen Chesley discusses his own process in relation to the exhibition Impressionism from Monet to Matisse. Free with membership or admission.

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