The Woman Responsible for Exposing Impressionism to the American Art World: Lilla Cabot Perry

Coming from the Cabot family of Boston had its perks for young Lilla–how would you like to hang out with Emerson and the Alcotts? But Lilla was pretty perky on her own–and talented. I don’t know how people find the energy to push art movements along, but she did. I’m  sure now that I’m sending off one of my characters to an artists’ colony and I’m happy to be meeting a bunch of fascinating women along the way. Another visual feast: (or why women are beautiful)

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“From her organization of the first American exhibition of Impressionist landscapes by John Breck to her visions of late nineteenth and early twentieth century femininity, Lilla Cabot Perry’s legacy is dynamic. During her lifetime she lived in three continents and was exposed to dozens of artists and stylistic modes. Her blending of eastern and western aesthetics and her sensitive visions of the feminine and natural worlds offered significant stylistic contributions to both the American and French Impressionist schools.

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No matter what Perry was exposed to, she always returned to her home and family for inspiration – not because that was all that was available to her, but because it was the part of her life that mattered to her most. Her translation of such dynamic styles into her intimate, everyday world created an oeuvre of art that provides intensely personal reflections on this Boston native’s life.

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Her vocal advocacy for the Impressionist movement helped to make it possible for other American Impressionists like Mary Cassatt to gain the exposure and acceptance they needed in the states. She furthered the American careers of her close friends Claude Monet and John Breck by lecturing stateside on their talents and showcasing their works. She also worked closely with Camille Pissarro to assist him in his dire financial situation by selling his work to friends and family in America.

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Throughout her life, Perry demonstrated again and again that she was dedicated and devoted not only to her own artistic evolution and career, but also to the careers of those around her. Thanks to her efforts, the Guild of Boston Artists was founded, Impressionism took hold as a respected artistic style in the United States, and a new generation of women artists were able to stake their claim in the art world thanks to the path that Lilla Cabot Perry blazed for them.

More than an artist, Perry was an advocate for the things that mattered to her most.” Wikipedia

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