At a time when their French counterparts were discovering the exquisite effects of light and color upon their pastoral countryside and expressing the wonder of that discovery through Impressionism, artists on this side of the ocean were making a similar discovery as well. Except that instead of a loosening of style and technique characteristic of the emotional element inherent in the French psyche, on this side of the Atlantic, just the opposite was occurring.
The American counterpart to Impressionism has come to be called Luminism. Among its illustrious practitioners were Martin Johnson Heade, John F. Kensett, Worthington Whittredge, Sanford R. Gifford, and most notably Fitz Hugh Lane. (I like to think he was a famous ancestor but I've never looked into it.) His paintings of the New England coastal environs explore with a stunning, yet studied, Yankee precision many of the same artistic elements the Impressionist were rendering from a much more intuitive point of view. Impressionism was romantic. Luminism was intellectual.
|Braces Rock, Eastern Point, Gloucester,|
1864, Fitz Hugh Lane