En Plein Air: Expo at the Irvine Museum

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En Plein Air: Expo at the Irvine Museum

Staff Writer

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Many Irvine residents are unaware of the museum in the center of their own city. Located on Von Karman Avenue, the Irvine Museum is dedicated to the preservation of the Californian Impressionist style of painting, which was in vogue from 1890-1930. The current exhibition, open until October 2nd, is called “En Plein Air,” a French idiom for “the outdoors.” En Plein Air exhibits impressionist paintings of beautiful northern and southern California landscapes.

Artists paint Plein Air pieces outdoors, in rain or shine, to capture the vibrant sensation of natural light, while fighting against the limitations of fleeting time. Most of the paintings displayed in the current exhibit are representations of Southern Californian nature. One of the paintings that stood out to me, however, depicts Northern California forests and is called “Morning Shadows” by John Cosby. Some of my other favorite pieces were those featuring beach sunsets in Southern California. The extraordinary paintings were able to vividly and realistically capture the ephemeral beauty of the sunset.

The museum is located on the bottom story of a tall business tower. Visitors can easily navigate through the museum, which contains only a few rooms, in less than one hour. During weekdays, the museum is especially uncrowded, allowing people to quietly contemplate the art while enjoying pleasant background music. While wandering through the museum, visitors can observe everyday scenes depicted in the paintings, from a sunset at Crystal Cove, to an early morning sunrise at Back Bay, to a gentle breeze on a Newport Beach afternoon. The museum is free and allows visitors to enjoy the brilliance of art which showcases their favorite Californian scenes.

18881 Von Karman Avenue,

Irvine, CA 92612

Tuesday – Saturday 11 AM – 5 PM

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