John Leslie Breck and the Birth of American Impressionism

The 2016 Alexander Arts Lecture features Dr. Jonathan Stuhlman, Senior Curator of American, Modern, and Contemporary Art at the Mint Museum in Charlotte, North Carolina. Dr. Stuhlman will present a talk “John Leslie Breck and the Birth of American Impressionism”.

“In 1887, Boston artist John Leslie Breck was one of the first American artists to visit Giverny, France, the home of renowned French Impressionist Claude Monet,” Dr. Stuhlman explained.  “Breck soon became one of the earliest American artists to embrace this radical new movement, which focused on color, light, and immediate reactions to the natural world and modern life rather than more traditional academic approaches to realism and the use of historical and religious subjects. Breck was also one of the first artists to introduce this new style of painting to American audiences.”

Inspired by the Mint Museum’s recent acquisition of Breck’s 1888 painting Suzanne Hoschedé-Monet Sewing, this talk will explore Breck’s work within the context of both European and American Impressionism, considering the work of Monet as well as that of John Singer Sargent, Dennis Miller Bunker, Lila Cabot Perry, Theodore Robinson, Philip Leslie Hale, and others.

The lecture will take place October 2, 2016, at 4 p.m. in the Alexander Community Room of the Blowing Rock Art & History Museum. The event is free and open to the public.

About the Speaker

Dr. Jonathan Stuhlman has been the Curator of American Art at the Mint since 2006; he assumed responsibility for the museum’s Modern and Contemporary Collection and joined the museum’s senior leadership team in 2013. He was previously the Anne and Harold Berkley Smith Curator of American Art at the Norton Museum of Art, West Palm Beach, FL; a McIntire Curatorial Fellow at the University of Virginia Art Museum; a Curatorial Assistant in the departments of American Arts and Modern Art at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts; a Research Associate in the department of American Art at the Art Institute of Chicago; and Assistant Director of Second Street Gallery in Charlottesville, VA.

Dr. Stuhlman has organized numerous traveling exhibitions, including: Georgia O’Keeffe: Circling around Abstraction; From New York to Corrymore: Robert Henri and Ireland; Double Solitaire: The Surrealist Worlds of Kay Sage and Yves Tanguy; Seeing the World Within: Charles Seliger in the 1940s; and Connecting the World: The Panama Canal at 100, each of which was accompanied by a publication. He also oversaw the reinstallation of the Mint’s collection of American Art at Mint Museum Uptown in 2010. Stuhlman received a B.A. with honors in Art History from Bowdoin College; an MA in Modern and Contemporary Art History, Theory, and Criticism from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago; and a PhD in the History of Art at the University of Virginia, where his dissertation focused on the work of the Surrealist painter Yves Tanguy.


The Alexander Arts Lecture

The annual Alexander Arts Lecture, to be held each fall in the Community Meeting Room of the Blowing Rock Art and History Museum, is an endowed lecture focused on American Art in honor of the extraordinary contributions of Patty and Welborn Alexander, founding members of the Museum. The endowment was established through gifts by members of the Museum’s Board of Trustees in 2012. The goal of this lecture is to engage diverse audiences and create a cultural dialogue, thereby enriching the lives of the participants with current perspectives in the visual arts.

Image credits:
John L. Breck (American, 1860 - 1899). “Suzanne Hoschedé-Monet Sewing”, 1888, oil on canvas. Gift of the Mint Museum Auxiliary.
Jonathan Stuhlman, Courtesy Heather James Fine Art.

Previous lectures:



American Impressionism and Realism: Tales of a Collector with Jack Huber


“Encouraging American Genius” and Other Tales from the Front: American Art at the Corcoran Gallery of Art with Sarah Cash, Bechhoefer Curator of American Art at the Corcoran Gallery in Washington, DC.


What a Difference a Frame Makes: American Period Frames of the 19th & Early 20th Centuries with Suzanne Smeaton, representative for Eli Wilner & Company


Landscapes of Southern Identity with Sylvia Yount, Chief Curator and Louise B. and J. Harwood Cochrane Curator of American Art.

PO Box 828
159 Chestnut St
Blowing Rock, NC 28605

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