For the next four months, the East Building of the Saint Louis Art Museum is home to a major exhibition on the changing French identity during the 19th century, as shown through paintings, photography and travel objects of the time.
“Impressionist France: Visions of Nation from Le Gray to Monet” is curated by Simon Kelly of the Saint Louis Art Museum and April M. Watson of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City.
Many of the paintings, photographs and other objects are on loan from other museums, gathered together to show a collective picture of the evolving French national identity between 1850 and 1880. Included are works by photographers Gustave Le Gray and Charles Marville, Barbizon School painters Camille Córot and Théodore Rousseau, and Impressionist painters Claude Monet, Camille Pissaro, Edgar Degas, Paul Cézanne, Édouard Manet and Berthe Morisot.
Because there were multiple and often competing visions of France, the exhibition is broken up into seven sections, each with its own room: Paris and the modern cityscape, monuments, rivers and forests, rural and agricultural life, mountains, marine views, and railroads and factories.
“This is the first exhibition to really focus on the idea of nation, particularly on nation in France,” Simon Kelly said. “We look at the ways in which landscape painters and photographers traveled around France and discovered and explored the range of history and geography in their nation and really developed new visions of what the nation meant.”
Kelly, who is curator of modern and contemporary art at the Saint Louis Art Museum, also co-authored an extensive full-color catalogue on the exhibition with co-curator April Watson, photography curator at
Saint Louis Art Museum Presents "Impressionist France: Visions of Nation from Le Gray to Monet"
March 16 - July 6, 2014
10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Tuesday - Sunday
10:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m. Friday
St. Louis Art Museum, One Fine Arts Drive in Forest Park
Saint Louis Art Museum Website
Cityscape is produced by Mary Edwards and Alex Heuer, hosted by Steve Potter and funded in part by the the Arts and Education Council of Greater St. Louis, the Regional Arts Commission and the Missouri Arts Council, a state agency.