“Inspiring Impressionism: The Impressionists and the Art of the Past,

Perhaps the idea of visiting the ongoing, not-so-new Impressionism exhibit (through Sept. 21) makes you stifle a yawn, fearful it’ll just bring back memories of ubiquitous dorm-room poster art and commemorative coffee mugs. Fortunately, this show is hung very thoughtfully, offering a visual education through several galleries as 19th-century artists riff on (then) 200-year-old art in a way we might take for granted today. Indeed, the exhibit’s run-on title, “Inspiring Impressionism: The Impressionists and the Art of the Past,” indicates how Monet, Manet, Renoir, Cézanne, and company were looking back, with some of our same impatience, at their predecessors. Walking through the show, the Dutch (and Dutch-inspired) landscapes especially grabbed me—especially all that gorgeous light on water. Jean-Honoré Fragonard’s color-saturated Young Girl Reading seems almost modern in its frantic paint application and removal (notice the scratching at her lace ruff). During your own walk, make sure to pick up—or dial up—the audio tour, for small doses of great commentary by SAM curator Chiyo Ishikawa in conversation with local artists, including Margie Livingston and Joseph Park, who offer their own take on the (now) old art on the walls. Seattle Art Museum, 1300 First Ave., 654-3100, www.seattleartmuseum.org. $20. 10 a.m.–5 p.m. ADRIANA GRANT

Mondays-Saturdays. Starts: July 29. Continues through Sept. 21, 2008

 
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