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Saint Vincent, Verostko Center extend Impressionist Legacies exhibit through Dec. 8

Saint Vincent, Verostko Center extend Impressionist Legacies exhibit through Dec. 8

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.

by Public Relations | November 13, 2023

LATROBE, PA— Impressionist Legacies: The Michael and Aimee Rusinko Kakos Collection, on view at the Verostko Center for the Arts on the Saint Vincent College campus, has recently been extended through Friday, December 8, due to the exhibition’s overwhelming popularity. The exhibit 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.089-Impressionist-Legacies.jpg

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.

Underscoring the significance of their bequest, Jennifer A. Thompson, Ph.D., Head of the European Painting and Sculpture Department at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, notes, “Michael and Aimee Rusinko Kakos are joining other distinguished donors who have contributed significantly to the cultural life of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania by enriching our public art collections. It is especially appropriate that Pennsylvania museums should have such strong Impressionist holdings since a prominent member of the group, Mary Cassatt, was born in Allegheny City (now part of Pittsburgh) and trained in Philadelphia. Cassatt encouraged American businessmen and women to collect Impressionism and to leave their collections to museums for others to enjoy.”

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).

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.”

Longtime philanthropists, the Kakoses’ generous support of early childhood literacy, access to the arts and major initiatives in higher education including scholarships and endowments at The Pennsylvania State University (State College), Manhattan College (Riverdale, NY), Niagara University (Lewiston, NY) and Stevens Institute of Technology (Hoboken, NJ) positively influence the lives of countless individuals. Dividing their time between Winter Park, FL, and Latrobe, the Kakoses have contributed to local arts and culture organizations for decades.

The bequest of their personal collection to Saint Vincent College engages a sustained interest in making art and education attainable. As a gift to the people of Southwest Pennsylvania, the debut of the Rusinko Kakos Collection fittingly coincides with the 250th anniversary of Westmoreland County. Their collection expands access to a pivotal period of European painting largely unavailable regionally for public view outside the Carnegie Museum of Art until now.

The exhibition is accompanied by a 128-page, full-color catalog featuring an introduction by Dr. Thompson, who is also 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.

British Impressionism

On Thursday, September 14, Dr. Thompson offered 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, explored 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. A recording of the lecture is now available on the Saint Vincent College YouTube channel:

Dr. Thompson earned her M.A. and Ph.D. at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. Since joining the European Painting and Sculpture 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.

About the Verostko Center for the Arts

Located on the campus of Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, the Verostko Center for the Arts was formally dedicated in November 2021. The Center serves as an educative and inspirational hub for students, faculty, researchers and the surrounding community.

Exhibiting work by contemporary artists and objects from the Saint Vincent permanent collections, the Center provides opportunities for its constituents to engage with diverse perspectives, cultures and ideas. In keeping with Saint Vincent College’s liberal arts mission, special focus is given to exhibitions and programming that draw from interdisciplinary sources. A 9,000+ square foot facility located inside the Dale P. Latimer Library, the Verostko Center features four distinct exhibition spaces, a video presentation area, reading room, staff offices and climate-controlled storage facilities for Saint Vincent’s art and rare book collections as well as the College’s archive.

The Center is proudly named for digital art pioneer Roman Verostko, C'55, S'59, H’21, an internationally-recognized artist and scholar whose affiliation with Saint Vincent can be traced back over 70 years.


For Information:

Andrew Julo | Director, Verostko Center for the Arts

Curator, Saint Vincent Art & Heritage Collections | 724-805-2107


PHOTO: A patron views Impressionist Legacies