Impression at 150: Here Are 9 Shows Advancing the Historic Movement

Several major exhibitions in France and abroad are adding to a nuanced moment as the world celebrates the Impressionism movement turning 150 this year. In an unprecedented move, the Musée d’Orsay has loaned 178 artworks to museums in about 30 French towns, and there are a cornucopia of differently angled shows exploring new and overlooked facets to the artistic movement. There’s a VR element at the Musée d’Orsay—which has received mixed reviews—and even an ice-skating rink-turned-digital artwork by Miguel Chevalier in Rouen’s Edith-Ballester skating rink.

Here are nine shows not to miss around France, beyond the Musée d’Orsay’s blockbuster “Paris 1874: Inventing Impressionism,” which we’ve covered separately and highly recommend.

“1863 Paris 1874,” at the Wallraf-Richartz-Museum & Fondation Corboud

Frédéric Bazille, Fisherman with a Net, 1868, oil on canvas, Arp Museum Rolandseck Station / Rau Collection for UNICEF, © Photo: Arp Museum Rolandseck Station / Rau Collection for UNICEF, inv. No. GR 1.653 (Photographer: Mick Vincenz, Essen)

The unofficial prequel to the Orsay show is on view in Cologne, Germany until July 28, 2024. It offers a fascinating new look at what led up to the first Impressionist show, beginning with the “Salon of the Rejected” artists, who were, per the title, rejected from the Salon. That event paved the way for a pioneering French avant-garde and new, modern ways of exhibiting. The show’s curator, Barbara Schaefer, says that the exhibition demonstrates how the Impressionists developed, noting that many of their painterly techniques can be detected earlier than may be commonly thought in works also shown in the Salon, effectively backing a key argument made by the Orsay/NGA show. “The ‘new’ painters were in fact fed by a long academic tradition,” said Schaefer, and the decade’s cultural influence on these artists was “not that well-known by the publicsomething we would like to change.”

“Van Gogh et les Etoiles” (Van Gogh and the Stars) at the Fondation Vincent Van Gogh

Vincent van Gogh Starry Night Over the Rhône (1888). Oil on canvas, 73 x 92 cm. © Musée d’Orsay, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais/Patrice Schmidt.

Elsewhere, in Arles, France, a new exhibition (on view June 1 through September 8, 2024) will center on the artist’s rarely loaned (1888) (Starry Night), which he painted in Arles. The show looks at the mystical and cosmological interests of painters around the late 19th and early 20th century, as creators responded to new scientific discoveries. Works depict night skies and range over a broad period, from a 1904-1905 painting by Mikalojus Konstantinas Čiurlionis to Georgia O’Keeffe’s (1922).

Nearby, LUMA Arles has also invited the Dutch artists DRIFT to create an installation and performance in dialogue with the Van Gogh exhibit, starting May 31.

Berthe Morisot at the Musée des Beaux-Arts Jules Chéret

Women Impressionists, and other women artists working during the period, are also given belated due in several shows. In Nice, the Musée des Beaux-Arts Jules Chéret will look at the life and work of Berthe Morisot, an early member of the Impressionist group and a central though under-appreciated figure. The exhibition (June 7-September 2024) delves into her time in Nice, where she gathered around several other practicing female artists who were drawn to the town en route to Italy.

“Women Impressionists” at the National Gallery of Ireland

Mary Cassat Lydia Seated in the Garden with a Dog on Her Lap, 1878–79. Oil on canvas, 10 3/4 × 16 in. (27.3 × 40.6 cm). Cathy Lasry, New York. Courtesy of The Philadelphia Museum of Art.

The National Gallery of Ireland is showing “Women Impressionists” (June 27-October 6), highlighting four women: Morisot, Eva Gonzalès, Marie Bracquemond, and Mary Cassatt. And the Philadelphia Museum of Art is focusing on the Pennsylvania-born Mary Cassatt, who is “yet to be appreciated for her serious engagement with the realities of gender and labor in her portrayal of other traditionally feminine activities,” states the museum (May 18-September 8). For something a bit different, the Museum der bildenden Künste in Leipzig is staging “Role Models–Women in the MdbK” (July 11, 2024-Feb. 9, 2025). Not limited to Impressionist women, the show looks at underrepresented female artists and highlights key figures such as the American Lilla Cabot Perry (1848-1933), who knew Monet and painted in Giverny, helping support her family of five through her art.

Normandism” at the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Rouen

David Hockney painting, Normandy June 2023 © David Hockney © JP Gonçalves de Lima. Hockney will be presented in an exhibition celebrating Impressionism at 150.

Lastly, there’s the entire French region of Normandy, which is celebrating the anniversary with a festival of exhibitions and events, including more contemporary works inspired by or in dialogue with Impressionism. There are David Hockney’s new paintings in “Normandism” (through September 22), including some 30 recent paintings on canvas and iPad. At the same museum, “Whistler, The Butterfly Effect” explores James Abbott McNeill Whistler’s impact on the avant-garde with loaned paintings from global museums.

“Monet and London: Views of the Thames” at the Courtauld Gallery, London

Claude Monet (1840–1926), London, Parliament, Sunlightin the fog, (1904). © RMN-Grand Palais (Muséed’Orsay)/HervéLewandowski

The Courtauld Gallery in London is fulfilling one of Claude Monet’s unrealized wishes. From September 27 to January 19, 2025, it is reuniting his works for the first time in 120 years, in particular, all of his works made on the banks of the Thames. The artist had hoped to show the series depicting Charing Cross Bridge, Waterloo Bridge, and the Houses of Parliament in London, the year after they were first exhibited in Paris in 1904, but those plans fell through… until this year.

Source: Exhibition -


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