The Influence of Impressionism
The artistic style of impressionism, which originated in France in the 1860's, experienced a rapid expansion through the United States in the early twentieth century. As an art student at the Art Students League of New York and the Metropolitan Arts Studio, Ursula Lauderdale was able to observe the movement as it spread throughout the United States, starting from its epicenter in New England.
Ursula Lauderdale’s impressionist paintings represent a crucial piece of the legacy of this artistic movement within the United States, particularly as the style spread and developed among those who did not work within the original impressionist colonies of New England. Her experiences living in different parts of the United States, and particularly her life in Texas, allowed her to blend the style of New England with themes from the American West. Paintings such as “Bluebonnets,” “Landscape,” and “Thunderbird Flowers” portray iconic American wildlife in the short brush-stroked, provocative style typical of Impressionism.
As her work was not painted within the impressionist colonies of New England, it is often described as “Texas Impressionism,” a separate school entirely. However, both Texas and New England impressionism share stylistic elements and naturalistic subject matter. Ursula Lauderdale influenced American Impressionism by expanding the range of landscapes and subjects, thus representing a broader picture of America. Her travels across the United States, influence within the artistic community, and early adoption of the impressionist style suggest that she not only created essential works of American Impressionism but furthered the style as a whole, shaping the history of art within the United States.