Les Poseuses
Georges Seurat
Les Poseuses

Gallery O
French Paintings

Gallery O covered the French Impressionists and early Post-Impressionists, including Toulouse-Lautrec and Seurat (left). Mary Cassatt was shown alongside her French contemporaries Manet, Monet, Degas, and Renoir. By the time of the Armory Show, Impressionism had been accepted within the National Academy of Design, due partly to the work of the Ten, a group of American artists who adopted techniques similar to the French Impressionists. Several large exhibitions of French and American Impressionism would have been available to New York audiences prior to the Armory Show. However, the AAPS hoped the memory of the Impressionists' early ridicule was not too far in the past. The initial critical acceptance of Impressionism was cited by numerous writers as a reason to more closely consider the newer artists at the Armory Show. Arthur Hoeber compared the Armory exhibition to the National Academy of Design exhibition of Monet where the public "rubbed its eyes [and] . . . many laughed outloud" ("Revolution" 1).

The examples of French Impressionism were primarily gathered from American collections and Durand-Ruel's New York gallery. Louisine Havemeyer and Albert Barnes unfortunately declined to lend their perhaps more representative paintings by the artists. Manet's work was split between three galleries: O, P, and R, so its impact would have been lost had audiences not already known his work. Monet's five paintings, which all came from Durand-Ruel, were primarily works from the late 1870s and early 1880s. Effect of Snow, Giverny is an example of two familiar themes explored by Monet. Degas was represented by two pastels, one of a bather, and an oil from his series of race horses. Renoir's Algerian Girl is one of his finest portraits, and undoubtedly encouraged Glackens in his admiration for the painter.

It is doubtful if Mary Cassatt even knew her paintings were included in the show. Both Nancy Hale and Fredrick Sweet speculate she would have been horrified had she known (Hale 254; Sweet 196). Although Cassatt expressed admiration for Cézanne in the early part of his career, encouraging Havemeyer, a close friend, to buy his work and purchasing a still life herself, Cassatt's enthusiasm waned as he gained notoriety. She believed his popularity could not last and practically insisted that Havemeyer sell her Cézannes. Though Cassatt's friend did take her advice and sold two paintings, Havemeyer resisted other sales and kept the rest of her collection until her death. If Cassatt wavered in her appreciation for Cézanne, she was clear on her feelings about Matisse and Picasso. She could see no value in their work (Rewald 164).


View Gallery O

Gallery Map

Gallery Guide