SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO.- Since ancient Rome paintings of Nature have decorated urban palaces, providing their inhabitants with a welcomed escape from the stress of daily life. In the nineteenth century in the wake of the Industrial Revolution, landscape painting reemerged and soon dominated the walls of the Salon de Paris, again offering a tranquil alternative to a continent now in the throes of rapid modernization. On November 14th, MAP@PLAZA, the Museo de Arte de Ponce at Plaza Las Américas, continues setting the standard for local cultural institutions with the opening of The Journey to Impressionism and Two Places at One Time--two exhibitions dedicated entirely to the evolution of landscape painting with works by Claude Monet, Auguste Renoir, Camille Pisarro, and Paul Gauguin, among others.
The Journey to Impressionism unites 50 works created by 43 of the most important European and American painters of light from the Renaissance and Baroque to the painters of the Sublime, the Barbizon school, and finally the Impressionists.
These works reveal how representations of the landscape changed over 400 years, a fitting show for MAP as it approaches its 50th anniversary.
The Director of the Museo de Arte de Ponce (MAP), Dr. Agustín Arteaga, explains that Impressionism was in fact a movement of ruptures, one in which artists questioned the official aesthetic of the traditional salon and offered a new interpretation of reality leading to a different worldview. Rather than searching the human condition from the inside out through myths, these artists focused on recreating their immediate surrounding.
Complementing the 39 works from MAP's world-class collection are 11 paintings belonging to acclaimed institutions such as the Columbia Museum of Art, the Lowe Art Museum at the University of Miami, Museo Soumaya in Mexico City, and the Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña, among other private collections and institutions. Curated by Richard Aste, Associate Curator of MAP, this exhibition gives the public a rare opportunity to contemplate firsthand masterpieces such as Waterloo Bridge by Claude Monet, The Barge and the Boat by Paul Gauguin, The Portrait of Paul Cézanne by Puerto Rican master Francisco Oller, and Morning in the Tropics by Frederic Church in the same setting. In order to foster an appreciation of the genre and its rise to the summit of Impressionism, The Journey to Impressionism is divided into 4 categories: The paysage historique (The Historical Landscape), The Sublime Landscape, Painting en plein air (in the open air), and The Triumph of Impressionism.
Dr. Arteaga adds that with The Journey to Impressionism the modern landscape is redefined. Art is always responding to its cultural milieu, sometimes with questions and often with an alternative way of seeing. From this perspective, the artist as cartographer maps history, commenting from within on his or her own contemporaneousness. Impressionism, as with any art form, was at one time contemporary.
Dr. Arteagas reference to the contemporaneousness of landscape painting is particularly evident in the exhibition Two Places at One Time, which is also on view in MAP@PLAZAs Sala de Proyectos. This exhibit builds on the message of The Journey to Impressionism by reinterpreting traditional landscape paintings from the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries from an international and contemporary point of view. This dialogue also extends MAP's exploration of the duality of landscapes (the physical and the psychological) through 7 artworks--3 photographs, 3 paintings and 1 art video--by renown contemporary artists such as Venezuelan Juan Araujo, Ellen Harvey from Great Britain, Dominik Lejman from Poland, and Javier Martínez and Carlos Ruíz- Valarino from Puerto Rico.
The Journey to Impressionism includes rich cultural and educational programming. As part of the exhibition Two Places at One Time, the Escuela de Artes Plásticas of Puerto Rico (EAPPR) together with MAP, will be offering a talk with artist Ellen Harvey on Monday, November 12, at 10:00 am in the EAPPR auditorium free of charge.
Both exhibitions are organized by the Museo de Arte de Ponce, the Luis A. Ferré Foundation, Inc., Ponce, Puerto Rico. Opening for MAP members only will take place on Thursday, November 13 at 6:30 pm.
MAP@PLAZA is located at Plaza Las Américas, central atrium, third floor. For more information about the exhibition, call 787.200.7090 or 787.848.0505. Contact the MAP Education Department at 787.840.1510 or write to educación@museoarteponce.org. Please visit us at www.museoarteponce.org.