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Whistler, Sargent, and Prosecco: American painters in Venice.

Prosecco isn’t just wine. It’s also culture. And it’s also a cultural symbol of the city of Venice and its history.

Prosecco’s role as a cultural ambassador is on display starting this month at the celebrated Amon Carter Museum of American Art in Dallas-Ft. Worth, Texas.

It’s part of a wonderful show entitled “Sargent, Whistler, and Venetian Glass: American Artists and the Magic of Murano.”

And guess what: They served Prosecco at the show’s opening earlier this month. That’s because no story of Venice and its magic can be told without including Prosecco!

During the second half of the 19th century and the early 20th century, many high-profile American artists, most of them painters, visited the lagoon city. Like many famous spots in Italy, it offered them the ideal subject matter as they developed and pushed the boundaries of their art.

But Venice also offered a unique and highly prized element: Water and waterways and the way they reflect light.

One of the highlights of the show is James McNeil Whistler’s early etchings of the famous canals.

The editors of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s website write:

“Born in New England, Whistler studied painting in Paris and then based himself in London. There he introduced the French practice of etching and lithographing as seriously as one painted. In his prints of the river Thames, as in those of the lagoons of Venice, Whistler developed subtle tonal variations that alluded dreamily to a triumph of water and air over substance.”

He would end up spending more than a year in Venice.

The show also includes some of the most famous American paintings of Venice from that period, like Thomas Moran’s “View of Venice” (above).

American artists like Moran, Whistler, and John Singer Sargent were carrying on a long tradition of the Venetian vedutisti painters, so called because they depicted  “views” or vedute of the city.

If you happen to make it to Texas before the show closes in September, it’s definitely worth the journey.

And if you can’t get there for the exhibition, just Google the painters’ names together with “Venice” and you will be treated to a glorious tour of the world’s most beautiful city.

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