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Intimate Modernity

Exhibition

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A work made of oil on artist's board.
The Red Room, Etretat, 1899
Félix Edouard Vallotton

In the 1890s, a new generation of artists emerged who came of age after the height of Impressionism and pioneered a variety of different artistic styles. Unified primarily by their close personal friendships with each other, many of these artists became known as Intimists, named for their generally smaller-scale works and intimate subject matter. Unlike the Impressionists, who often portrayed landscapes, outdoor gardens, or city streets, the Intimists focused instead on interior scenes as a way to experiment with color, form, pattern, and atmosphere, populating their domestic spaces with relatives, friends, or employees.

The paintings, prints, and pastels in this focused installation were mostly intended for display in private spaces, where they would become a part of the viewer’s everyday life. The artists envisioned that by bringing innovative art into the home—a place typically reserved for “craft”—they would erode the distinctions between art and life and produce psychologically intimate, art-filled spaces for reflection.

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