Seeing paintings — the real thing as opposed to a reproduction in a book — provides a fascinating, up-close look at details, such as brush strokes used by the artist and the color subtleties.
But sometimes, a piece of art causes us to think deeper and ask, “I wonder what this artist’s life was like?”
This is among the questions that John Impert will discuss during his March 2 talk at the Cascadia Art Museum on one of its exhibits, “Painters of the Northwest: Impressionism to Modernism, 1900-1930.” Impert wrote the book accompanying the exhibit.
He will discuss about 20 of the exhibit’s 60 images, explaining how they fit into the progression of Northwest art from the first third of the 20th century.
“My book was the first ever written on the subject,” Impert said. “It’s a period of art no one knows anything about.”
The era is a mystery in part because many Northwest artists of the time never married. “When they died whatever records they had disappeared,” he said. “There were no families to keep their boxes of stuff. They were all thrown out.”
The artists tended to be “kind of loners,” Impert said, and a number eventually moved elsewhere.
Among the artists whose works will be discussed is Paul Gustin, who moved to Seattle as a young man, and whose most active creative period occurred in the three decades beginning in 1900. The museum previously organized an exhibit of his works in 2017.
“He was very interested in Mount Rainier and painted it more and in a more interesting way than anyone else,” Impert said.
Another featured artist is Charles “CC” McKim, who moved to Portland, Oregon, when he was 48 and became one of the region’s best-known artists.
Impert also will discuss Abby Williams Hill, who he said “gives us a really good example of what a Northwest artist was” at the beginning of the 20th century, and Jessie Elliott, who had her own studio in 1891. Her paintings include one of a scene at Alki Beach in Seattle.
Earlier this month, Impert was asked to present his lecture on Northwest artists in La Jolla, California, where audience members were curious about how the work of Northwest artists influenced artists in their area.
Impert, an attorney, moved to Seattle in 1987 and worked at the Boeing Co. Following his retirement, he earned his masters and PhD degrees in art history from 2007 to 2012 at the University of Washington.
His dissertation was on Northwest artists whose works were influenced by Impressionism.
He has been involved with the Cascadia Art Museum since its inception, and serves on its board.
Sharon Salyer: 425-339-3486 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you go:
A special lecture on the featured exhibit “Painters of the Northwest: Impressionism to Modernism, 1900-1940” is scheduled for 10 a.m. March 2 at the Cascadia Art Museum, 190 Sunset Ave., Edmonds. The speaker will be John Impert, author of the accompanying book “Painters of the Northwest: Impressionism to Modernism, 1900-1930.” Tickets are $10 for museum members and $15 for non-members (includes ticket to the exhibition). Buy online at www.cascadiaartmuseum.org or at the museum ticket counter.