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Verostko Center to open Impressionism exhibit, host lecture by Philadelphia Museum of Art curator Dr. Jennifer Thompson

Verostko Center to open Impressionism exhibit, host lecture by Philadelphia Museum of Art curator Dr. Jennifer Thompson

by Public Relations | August 29, 2023

The rare and valuable selection of works is comprised of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings assembled by the Kakoses over the course of 40 years. 

LATROBE, PA—The Verostko Center for the Arts is proud to debut Impressionist Legacies: The Michael and Aimee Rusinko Kakos Collection. The exhibition will open on Thursday, September 7, and be on view through Friday, November 17, 2023. 

The exhibition features an important selection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings recently gifted to Saint Vincent College on behalf of longtime philanthropists Michael and Aimee Rusinko Kakos. Rarely seen by the public in decades, the Collection features 88 works completed by 61 artists who worked alongside those whose names are synonymous with Impressionism and the modernist styles that immediately followed but have largely been omitted from art historical surveys.

The public is invited to a public reception on September 7 from 5:00–7:00 p.m. at the Center, located on the second floor of the Dale P. Latimer Library. Additionally, during the Fall 2023 semester while classes are in session, the Center is open to the public Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday 10:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m. and Friday 10:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m.

Through an international constellation of friendships, parent-child relationships, marriages, professional associations and academic connections, artists shared ideas, techniques and inspirations that supported the development of their work. Focused on the transformative years between the 1880s through the 1930s, the Rusinko Kakos Collection links the luminaries of Impressionism with their under-recognized contemporaries. Interested in artists who prized both beauty and innovation in their work, the Kakoses opted to gradually collect pieces that invited sustained looking and appreciation for their London home. The collection is supported by a $1 million endowment that underwrites future conservation and interpretation.

Highlights include a portrait by Sir George Clausen (The Novel, 1879), two works by Victor Vignon (Haystacks and The Hamlet) and a Brittany village scene by Victor Charreton (Breton Lacemakers, 1922–1926).Among several examples by Post-Impressionist luminaries is a still life by Suzanne Valadon (Bouquet of Roses in a Shell, ca. 1919), a stunning portrait by Henri Lebasque of his daughter (Marthe Lebasque at Vézillon, 1912), two garden-based paintings by Maximillien Luce and four works by Georges d’Espagnat informed by Fauvist techniques. The collection boasts representative works by artists who helped introduce Impressionism to England, including Arthur Hacker (A Quiet Cove, Girl Canoeing, 1900), Stanhope Forbes (High Water – Gweek, Cornwall, 1931) and Mark Fisher (Corner of the Orchard, Hatfield Heath, ca. 1920).

Jennifer A. Thompson, Ph.D.

Impressionist Legacies is organized into three broader categorical subjects that animate artists working in the pivotal years surrounding the turn of the 20th century. With the aim of capturing moments in real time, artists documented the fleeting effects of light on water, the pastoral environs outside Paris and London and the hidden glories of daily life manifested in activities of labor and leisure. An additional section features paintings influenced by Impressionism after World War II.

“Through Michael and Aimee’s generosity, Saint Vincent is now home to a fascinating collection of works that demonstrate the beginnings of European modernism,” explained Andrew Julo, Verostko Center for the Arts Director and Saint Vincent Art & Heritage Collections Curator. “Some of the artists represented in the Rusinko Kakos Collection had their work first publicly exhibited in America at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh. I’m delighted we’re able to reintroduce these artists to the people of Southwestern Pennsylvania.”

The exhibition is accompanied by a 128-page, full-color catalog featuring an introduction by Jennifer A. Thompson, Ph.D., the Gloria and Jack Drosdick Curator of European Painting and Sculpture and Curator of the John G. Johnson Collection at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Margaret Fisher Prout, British, 1875–1963 The Pond at East Runton, ca. 1952 

On Thursday, September 14, Dr. Thompson will offer a lecture entitled “Beyond Paris: British Impressionists in the Rusinko Kakos Collection.” In the years leading up to World War I, several prominent American and British writers posed the question, "What is Impressionism?" They were responding to the international dissemination and adoption of painting techniques identified with French artists such as Claude Monet, Camille Pissarro, Edgar Degas and Pierre-Auguste Renoir. Illustrated with objects from the Rusinko Kakos Collection, Dr. Thompson, will explore the ways in which British painters embraced Impressionism's interest in color, fleeting sensations, visible brushwork, and modern subject matter. In so doing, they developed a style with local characteristics and global resonance.

The lecture will begin at 7:00 p.m. in the Fred M. Rogers Center on the Saint Vincent campus. Tickets are free. Reservations can be made by visiting

Jennifer A. Thompson, Ph.D., is Head of the European Painting and Sculpture Department at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Dr. Thompson earned her M.A. and Ph.D. at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. Since joining the department in 1999, she has played an essential role in interpreting, displaying and developing the museum’s collections of European art. She has published widely and curated many notable exhibitions, including The Impressionist’s Eye (2019), Old Masters Now: Celebrating the Johnson Collection (2017), Discovering the Impressionists: Paul Durand-Ruel and the New Painting (2015), Van Gogh Up Close (2012) and Late Renoir (2010). She is also curator of the Rodin Museum in Philadelphia.