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'Turner to Cezanne': the Everson's potent exhibition

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"The Francois Zola Dam," ca. 1877-78, from "Turner to Cezanne: Masterpieces from the Davies Collection" at the Everson Museum of art in Syracuse.

This week's ArtsBeat column focused on a promising cross-cultural collaboration now under way in the city of Syracuse. The focal point of the collaboration, in which several Syracuse cultural organizations are mounting programs that reflect in diverse ways on the Impressionist movement in visual art, is a small jewel of an exhibition at the city's Everson Museum of Art.

"Turner to Cezanne: Masterpieces from the Davies Collection," is not your typical touring blockbuster show. It features some 50 works of art from the collection of Welsh sisters Gwendoline and Margaret Davies, who, during their collecting careers in the early to mid-20th century, amassed a significant trove of works by pre-Impressionists like J.M.W. Turner and Corot, straight-up Impressionist masters like Monet and Pissarro and post-Impressionists like van Gogh and, perhaps most importantly, Paul Cezanne.

As small as it is, the the exhibition certainly has its gaps. As Post-Standard writer Katherine Rushworth points out in her review, the show lacks pieces by important painters of the period like Matisse and Degas, as well as paintings that deviate in subject matter from the sisters' favored landscapes. Be that as it may, the exhibition manages to convey the gestalt of the Impressionist movement and its immediate context in the space of a few small galleries. And that's no small accomplishment.

1 Joseph Mallord William Tu It accomplishes this while presenting excellent examples by J.M.W. Turner ("The Storm," ca. 1840-45, left), Monet, van Gogh, Morisot, Manet and others. It also highlights the sisters' affinity for the work of such artists as Honoré Daumier, several of whose pieces lend the exhibition a definite sense of the sisters' personal tastes and personalities.

For an in-depth look into the show itself, see the Syracuse Post-Standard's collected coverage. And to get a taste of some of the work in the show, check out a slideshow below:

--Colin Dabkowski

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