Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Impressionist France: Visions of Nation From Le Gray to Monet


A groundbreaking exhibition of mid-19th century French painting and photography opens at The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City Oct. 19, 2013 where it will be on view through Feb. 9, 2014 and at The Saint Louis Art Museum from March 16 through July 6, 2104. Featuring approximately 125 works, Impressionist France: Visions of Nation from Le Gray to Monet takes visitors on a vicarious journey through the spectacular French landscape, emphasizing connections between photography, painting and the emerging Impressionist artists during a period in which France was being fundamentally transformed and modernized (1850-1880). Key paintings by well-known artists such as Claude Monet and Camille Pissarro, as well as important photographs by influential photographers like Gustave Le Gray and Édouard Baldus will be featured...

This exhibition will include important works from 42 museums and private collections, including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The J. Paul Getty Museum, The Art Institute of Chicago, the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the Victoria and Albert Museum, and the Musées nationaux du Palais de Compiègne, among many others. It will also be the first major exhibition to feature significant and important new acquisitions by the Nelson-Atkins in 19th-century French photography.

Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

Saint Louis Art Museum

Excellent review


Impressionist France
Visions of Nation from Le Gray to Monet


312 p., 9 1/2 x 11
359 color illus.
ISBN: 9780300196955
PB-Flexibound: $35.00 sc

Simon Kelly and April M. Watson; With essays by Neil McWilliam and Maura Coughlin

Between 1850 and 1880, Impressionist landscape painting and early forms of photography flourished within the arts in France. In the context of massive social and political change that also marked this era, painters and photographers composed competing visions of France as modern and industrialized or as rural and anti-modern. Impressionist France explores the resonances between landscape art and national identity as reflected in the paintings and photographs made during this period, examining and illustrating in particular the works of key artists such as Édouard Baldus, Gustave Le Gray, the Bisson Frères, Édouard Manet, Jean-François Millet, Claude Monet, Charles Nègre, and Camille Pissarro. This ambitious premise focuses on the whole of France, exploring the relationship between landscape art and the notion of French nationhood across the country’s varied and spectacular landscapes in seven geographical sections and four scholarly essays, which provide new information regarding the production and impact of French Impressionism.

Simon Kelly is curator of modern and contemporary art at the Saint Louis Art Museum. April M. Watson is associate curator, photography, at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.


Édouard Manet, French (1832-1883). The Rue Mosnier with Flags, 1878. Oil on canvas, 25 3/4 x 31 3/4 inches. The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, 89.PA.71.

Claude Monet, French (1840-1926). The Promenade with the Railroad Bridge, Argenteuil, 1874. Oil on canvas, 21 1/8 x 28 3/8 inches. Saint Louis Art Museum. Gift of Sydney M. Shoenberg Sr., 45:1973.

Claude Monet, French (1840-1926). Regatta at Sainte-Adresse, 1867. Oil on canvas, 29 5/8 x 40 inches. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Bequest of William Church Osborn, 1951, 51.30.4.

Claude Monet, The Bridge at Argenteuil , 1874

Rosa Bonheur (French, 1822-1899)
Grazing Sheep in the Pyrenees
Oil on canvas, 12 5/8 x 17 15/16 in.
Gift of Mrs. Mervat Zahid, 1997.46
he Hall Family Foundation, 2010.30.3.