Photograph not available at this time.
Lewis’ groupings of figures and individuals in the out of doors recall the romantic pieces of Manet, Cassett, or Renoir. These figures under the dappled pattern of sunlight and shadow, seem filled with happiness as they radiate a human warmth that is utterly entrancing.
Even though the paintings do not treat with the theories the Impressionists were trying to develop, in feeling they evoke the more romantic pieces of that group. They are like nineteenth century tableaux, with elegantly dressed figures placed in idyllic settings. The characters that evoke these pieces evoke nothing so much as romantic novels. The colors are fresh and bright; a sunny, late 19th century palette. much more structured than Impressionist pieces. The gay and colorful studies of contemporary life were incidental to the real absorption of this school of painters with the momentary sensation of light and color. This preoccupation finally made for a dissolution of the solidity of three dimensional form and a new departure in the perception of form.
And so even though these paintings resemble many I mpressionist pieces in feeling, in the solid way Lewis treats his figures they could not be less related. Indeed, intellectually Lewis’ work has more affinity with the art that preceded and came after Impressionist painting. These are romantic pieces peopled by Victorian, Jamesian characters. They make a statement and thereby express a wish. A wish for an orderly, rational world, peopled with lovely young men and women. A gracious sphere where complex contemporary issues do not intrude. The pieces are nothing so much as Mr. Lewis’ denial of what does exist and expressive fantasy of what he wishes did exist.