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"The Triumph of French Painting: Masterpieces from Ingres to Matisse"
2001-04-07 until 2001-06-03
Dayton Art Institute
Dayton, OH, USA

Drawn from the superb collections of the Walters Art Museum and the Baltimore Museum of Art due to renovations at both museums, this special exhibition provides a comprehensive survey of painting in France during the 19th and early 20th centuries and examines the artistic trends that contributed to Frances domination of the world art scene during this period.

The exhibition spans more than 100 years and includes such great masterpieces as Claude Monets Charing Cross Bridge (Reflections on the Thames) (1901-1904), oil on canvas; Edouard Manets The Café-Concert (1878-1879), oil on canvas; Edgar Degas Before the Race (1882-1884), oil on panel; Vincent Van Goghs A Pair of Boots (1887), oil on canvas; Paul CÈzannes Mont Sainte-Victoire Seen from the Bibémus Quarry (1897), oil on canvas; Henri Matisses Odalisque with Green Sash (1927) oil on canvas; Pablo Picassos Woman with Bangs (1902), oil on canvas; and Paul Gauguins Vahine no te vi (Woman of the Mango) (1892), oil on canvas.

This special exhibition provides visitors the opportunity to contrast the techniques and styles of Impressionism and Post-Impressionism art.

THE TRIUMPH OF FRENCH PAINTING opens in the early 19th century with the Neoclassical period, represented with the coolly observed works of Marguerite Gérard and Davids student, Jean-Dominique Ingres. From here, Eugëne Delacroixs exuberant and colorful history subjects define Romanticisms painterly style and expressive qualities of color, as seen in Christ on the Sea of Galilee, 1854, one of three pictures by Delacroix.

During the 19th century, landscape painting assumed an unprecedented significance in French art. A number of painters, most notably Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Jean-Franáois Millet, Constant Troyon and Charles-Franáois Daubigny - all represented in the exhibition - worked in the Fontainebleau Forest south of Paris and came to be associated with the village of Barbizon. Painting en plein air avant le motif or out-of-doors in front of the subject was a mantra to these artists and provided the context in which Impressionism flourished. The Barbizon Schools fidelity to nature and concern for the working class is seen in paintings by Corot and Millet. This era is represented by Impressionisms chief exponent, Claude Monet in three paintings, Waterloo Bridge, Charing Cross Bridge and Windmills Near Zaandam. When painting Waterloo Bridge and Charing Cross Bridge, Monet was intrigued by Londons dense fog and preceded to use this aspect in several of his works. He commented: The fog in London assumes all sorts of colors; there are black, brown, yellow, green, purple fogs, and the interest in painting is to get the objects as seen through all these fogs. My practiced eye has found that objects change in appearance in a London fog more and quicker than in any other atmosphere, and the difficulty is to get every change down on canvas.

Works by Edouard Manet, Edgar Degas, Camille Pissaro, Alfred Sisley and Auguste Renoir examine Impressionisms affinity for color and light. The overview of the 19th century concludes with pictures by three master Post-Impressionists, Paul Cézanne, Paul Gauguin and Vincent Van Gogh. Following Post-Impressionism, the exhibition looks at Modernism, with the abstracted form and expressive color found in works by Pierre Bonnard, Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse. Picasso initially used mostly somber blue tones, as shown in Woman with Bangs, but during the next two years, his palette changed to pink and flesh tones.

This is a unique opportunity for visitors to see the brilliance of 19th and 20th century art in France - the center of the art world for more than a century - and gain a new appreciation for works by some of art historys most acclaimed masters in this one exhibition, said Alex Nyerges, Director and CEO of the Art Institute. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to see great masterpieces side by side, in one exhibition.


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