Feverish-looking self portrait of Van Gogh? Check! Feathery brushed selection of Renoirs? Check! Japanese bridge over lily pond by Monet? Check! Pointillist seascape by Seurat? Check! The exhibition “Impressionist and Post-Impressionist Masterpieces from the National Gallery of Art” at the National Art Center Tokyo certainly caters to the Japanese public’s artistic comfort zone. The Washington gallery has sent over a fine group of paintings, but what distinguishes this from other exhibitions that plough a similar furrow? The most noticeable and characteristic difference is that the show includes a noticeable contingent of female artists: Berthe Morisot, Eva Gonzales, and especially Mary Cassatt, whose popularity was founded on her sympathetically painted pictures of mothers and children, like “Little Girl in a Blue Armchair” (1878). There is also a section looking at impressionism on paper, showing prints that will please local audiences by their affinities with Japanese print art.
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