Why is there a Museum of American Art in Giverny ? Giverny, A Home for Artists. When the impressionist painter Claude Monet moved to Giverny in 1883, many American artists soon travelled to the village eager to meet him and to experiment with impressionist techniques. They formed an important colony of artists which developed around painters like Lilla Cabot Perry, Theodore Robinson, Frederick MacMonnies, Frederick Carl Frieseke, and other long-term residents.
Daniel J. Terra (1911−1996), Businessman and Patron of the Arts Grandson of an Italian lithographer who had immigrated to the United States, Daniel J. Terra was brought up in Pennsylvania. While studying chemical engineering at Pennsylvania State University, he worked as an apprentice in the family workshop and took out a patent for a chemical component which reduced the ink drying process from ninety six hours to twenty four. This invention revolutionized printing techniques and contributed to the success of Life magazine. In 1940, Daniel Terra and his friend John Lawson founded Lawter Chemicals which developed into a multinational company with offices in twelve countries.
Starting in 1937, Daniel Terra began to collect art, initially eighteenth- and nineteenth-century British landscapes, and later exclusively American art from the Colonial period to World War II. Appointed United States Ambassador-at-Large for Cultural Affairs in 1983, he travelled to France and discovered with enthusiasm Giverny’s rich artistic past. This encounter had an influence on the development of his collection, and he began actively to acquire works painted in the Norman village. Daniel Terra longed to bring these American masterworks back to the village where they were painted. He realized his dream with the inauguration of the Musée d’Art Américain Giverny on June 2, 1992. Each year a large and diverse public discovers the works of the Giverny painters and also learns about American art history from 1750 to the present through the musée’s ambitious exhibitions and programs.
The museum’s activities are sponsored by the Terra Foundation for American Art in Chicago. The mission of the Terra Foundation for American Art is to promote, study, acquire, preserve and exhibit original works of art in order to foster a greater knowledge and appreciation of American art around the world. It manages the Terra collection which consists of over seven hundred works of the most important American artists such as John Singleton Copley, Winslow Homer, Mary Cassatt, James A. M. Whistler, Thomas Eakins, Arthur Dove, Charles Demuth and Edward Hopper.