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Major Impressionist France Exhibition at Saint Louis Art Museum
Claude Monet, French, 1840 - 1926; Boulevard des Capucines, 1873 - 74; oil on canvas; 31 5/8 x 23 3/4 inches; The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri, Purchase: the Kenneth A. and Helen F. Spencer Foundation Acquisition Fund, F72-35
ST. LOUIS, MO, (SLFP.com), March 12, 2014 - The Saint Louis Art Museum presents Impressionist France; Visions of Nation from Le Gray to Monet, a ground-breaking exhibition offering a fresh perspective on landscape imagery in 19th century France. The exhibition explores for the first time the rich connections between landscape and national identity during a period in which France was fundamentally transformed.
Impressionist France is the first ticketed exhibition in the Art Museum's David Chipperfield-designed East Building, which opened in June 2013. The exhibition opens March 16 and is scheduled to close on July 6.
The major exhibition, which includes loans from 36 institutions in America and Europe, will be presented as St. Louis celebrates the 250th anniversary of its founding by French settlers. In addition to 120 paintings and photographs, Impressionist France includes maps, tourist guides and ephemera.
The exhibition focuses particularly on the years between 1850 and 1880. During these decades, painters and photographers traveled around France, exploring the exceptionally rich and varied range of history and geography in the nation. These years saw the Golden Age of early photography, the culminating production of the Barbizon School, and the high point of early Impressionism.
Impressionist France includes important work by photographers such as Gustave Le Gray and Charles Marville, Barbizon School painters including Camille Corot and Théodore Rousseau, and Impressionist painters such as Claude Monet, Camille Pissarro, Edgar Degas, Paul Cézanne, Êdouard Manet and Berthe Morisot. These artists composed competing visions of France as modern and industrialized or as rural and anti-modern.
The exhibition takes visitors on a journey to 19th century France through seven thematic sections exploring Paris and the modern cityscape; monuments; rivers and forests; rural and agricultural life; mountains; marine views; and railroads and factories.
The exhibition is curated by Simon Kelly, curator of modern and contemporary art at the Saint Louis Art Museum, and April M. Watson, curator of photography at The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.
The East Building, designed by Sir David Chipperfield, at the Saint Louis Art Museum, features floor-to-ceiling windows and 23 monumental panels of dark polished concrete, with highlights of Missouri river aggregates. See related story: Saint Louis Art Museum Unveils Contemporary East Building
The Saint Louis Art Museum is one of the leading art museums with more than 100 galleries. The building was designed by famed architect Cass Gilbert as the Palace of Fine Arts for the 1904 World's Fair in Forest Park. Standing atop Art Hill, it is the "crown" jewel" of the 1,370-acre park. The Grand Basin is the lake at the foot of Art Hill and served as the focal point of the 1904 World's Fair.
Crusader King Louis IX in front of the Saint Louis Art Museum
The Museum's collections feature more than 30,000 art treasures from ancient times to the present. Highlights include art of the Renaissance, masterpieces of Impressionism, American European Art, Asian art, Period Rooms, the Egyptian mummy, and world-renowned collections of pre-Columbian and German Expressionist art.
The Museum provided $10 million for improvements to Art Hill and nearby areas including: reconstruction of Fine Arts Drive in the front of the Museum between the front stairway and the statue of St. Louis; the street and the area around the landmark statue is now paved with granite; construction of two curved, tree-lined walkways, or promenades, extending about 250 yards in each direction from the statue of St. Louis to the existing circular parking areas; construction of scenic overlooks near the expanded circular parking areas; landscaping of the two promenades and of the entire area with ornamental trees and decorative lighting; and new parking adjacent to the scenic overlooks.
Hours: Tuesday-Sunday, 10:00 am-5:00 pm; Friday, 10:00 am-9:00 pm; Closed Monday. For more information, call 314-721-0072. Admission to the Saint Louis Art Museum is free. Admission to featured exhibitions is free on Friday.
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