Everyone knows the impressionists loved water: Claude Monet’s lilies, Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s boating parties, Édouard Manet’s sailing lovers and Georges Seurat’s Seine are iconic images from the movement.
With the America’s Cup races as a timely tie-in, the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco have organized “Impressionists on the Water,” an exhibit of more than 80 works by renowned artists on view at the Legion of Honor from Saturday through Oct. 13.
The impressionists, with their obsession with capturing the nuances of light and painting “en plein air,” inevitably gravitated toward boats.
Monet painted on one (a painting of his “studio boat” is in the show), Paul Signac owned nearly 30 and Gustave Caillebotte designed them.
Several half-boat models by Caillebotte and a full-size boat, the Gig Nana, are at the front of the exhibition under an open skylight.
“I’m used to working with two-dimensional paintings,” says Melissa Buron, assistant curator of European art at the