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Massachusetts: Impressionists at the Peabody

If you're baffled by the almost hypnotic effect of Impressionist artwork, a new exhibit at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Mass., may finally solve that mystery -- and explain why Californians may feel a special connection to the French artworks.

Through Feb. 17, visitors will be able to explore "Impressionists on the Water" and the interplay of light, water and sky that has been irresistible to many artists. With more than 90 prints, paintings, photographs and models, the exhibit reveals how living near the Atlantic Ocean and France's waterways influenced Edouard Manet, Claude Monet, Auguste Renoir, Gustave Caillebotte and Georges Seurat, among other artists.

Several of them were accomplished sailors, such as Caillebotte. He is considered France's most successful 19th century yachtsman and artist and is known for the design and creation of 25 boats. In his painting, "Regatta at Argenteuil," shown in the photo gallery above, he painted himself at the helm of a sailboat. Other painters, such as Charles-Francois Daubigny, had floating studios. Monet even built a studio boat, also shown in the photo gallery, in order to be near the water.

Info: Peabody Essex Museum, (866) 745-1876. Open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays and the third Thursday of the month until 9:30 p.m. Admission is $18 adults, seniors $10 and students $10.

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