It’s rare that the work that we put into a temporary exhibition has a lifespan beyond the project it was conceived for. In my 25-plus years of making exhibitions, I can count on one hand the number of times it’s happened to me. So, I was surprised and delighted when the National Museum of Wildlife Art emailed last November to say they’d read my 2013 blog post (with 13 comments) about the Impressionist Studio Boat, and wondered if I would talk to them about how we made it so they could create something similar about plein air painting in nature. So we had a nice long chat on the phone, went back and forth via email about video players, rear screen projection materials and the other minutiae, and I felt a little glow that somebody who’d never seen our work wanted to duplicate it.
A month later, I got another email out of the blue, this time from the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. They were preparing to host an exhibition titled, Daubigny, Monet, Van Gogh: Impressions of Landscape and also came across the blog post. They wondered whether we might be willing to let them borrow our boat for their exhibition. Our boat was actually based on Daubigny’s sketches of his own studio boat, which members of the project team had pored over in great detail to try to understand what one might’ve found aboard such a boat. I had to tell them that we had unfortunately dismantled our boat, but would be happy to share the plans and videos we created, if they wanted to build their own boat.
I remember thinking, “That’d be nice, to have our work in the Van Gogh Museum…”
Then, shortly after that, the National Gallery of Scotland emailed and said they were also doing the Daubigny show, had heard we’d been talking to the Van Gogh, and asked whether we might let them copy our boat as well. And then the Taft Museum in Cincinnati emailed to say they were also interested. They didn’t have room for a boat, but they were interested in using the videos. To say I’m excited would be an huge understatement. It’s so gratifying to see our work here at PEM being used by other museums!
So, without further ado, here are four different impressions of our Impressionist’s Studio Boat!