From its sweeping coastlines to its soaring inland mountains, verdant valleys, and volcanoes standing in splendid isolation, the Pacific Northwest has long inspired artists to capture the unique spirit of its varied landscape. Yet the early years of twentieth-century Pacific Northwest painting remain shrouded in mystery. In this groundbreaking work, John Impert introduces readers to the rich and varied array of artists and works of art that defined the region’s artistic transition from a nature-bound impressionism to the arrival of modernism.
Focusing on nine artists—Paul Morgan Gustin, C. C. McKim, Clyde Keller, J. Edgar Forkner, Clara Jane Stephens, Dorothy Dolph Jensen, Eustace Paul Ziegler, Mark Tobey, and C. S. Price—art historian John Impert organizes his work around the landscapes, people, and city scenes they painted. He identifies the influence of impressionism, in particular the singular way in which each artist's biography, style, and iconography contribute to a distinctive northwestern sensibility.
Painters of the Northwest shows us for the first time how a spectacular natural environment, one that conformed aesthetically to nineteenth-century ideals of romanticism and transcendental reverence, combined with an emphasis on subject over style to create a body of work far more concerned with the natural environment than with the socioeconomic issues that occupied city-bound artists of the day. Establishing a chronology, history, and art historical canon for this little-studied place and time, this book is a long-overdue foundational history of early twentieth-century painting in the Pacific Northwest.