Colours of Impressionism: Masterpieces from the Musée d’Orsay

AGSA Claude Monet, The Water Lilies Pond, pink harmonyMore than 65 Impressionist masterpieces from the renowned collection of the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, will feature in a major exhibition at the Art Gallery of South Australia from 29 March to 29 July 2018.

Title Colours of Impressionism: Masterpieces from the Musée d’Orsay – the exhibition charts the revolution of colour that lies at the very heart of Impressionism. This curatorial approach is unique in its exploration of colour as the guiding force behind the evolution of the nineteenth century’s most important art movement.

One of the exhibition’s highlights will be Monet’s celebrated work, La Pie (The Magpie). Painted by Monet in the open air, the snowscape features a novel palette of pale, lustrous colours, which caused the painting to be rejected by the Salon, the annual official art exhibition, in 1869.

Monet’s Un Coin d’appartement [A Corner of the Apartment], Le Bassin aux nymphéas, harmonie rose [Water Lily Pond, Pink Harmony] and one of the Musée d’Orsay’s five versions of the Cathédrale de Rouen [Rouen Cathedral], will also be on display.

These masterpiece will hang alongside other celebrated masterworks by Renoir, Manet, Morisot, Pissarro and Cézanne, including Manet’s Serveuse de bocks [The Waitress], Cézanne’s Golfe de Marseille [Bay of Marseille], Caillebotte’s Vue des Toits [Rooftops], and Renoir’s Gabrielle à la rose [Gabrielle with a Rose].

From the dark tones of Manet’s Spanish-influenced paintings, to the rich green and blue hues of the French countryside as painted by Cézanne, Monet and Pissarro, to the rosy pigments of Renoir’s and Morisot’s female figures, the exhibition traces the development of colour in the Impressionists’ radical reshaping of painting in the nineteenth century.

Director Nick Mitzevich describes the exhibition as ‘the most important exhibition ever to be shown at the Art Gallery of South Australia. “With so few Impressionist works held in Australian collections, the exhibition presents a rare opportunity for Australians to see the movement’s radical evolution of colour. I would like to thank theMusée d’Orsay for sharing this remarkable collection with Australia.’

In an unprecedented move, the Art Gallery of South Australia will be staging the exhibition in one of Australia’s few nineteenth century gallery spaces. A fitting backdrop for Colours of Impressionism, the ElderWing recalls the light-filled interior of the former metro station that now houses the Musée d’Orsay on Paris’Left Bank.

In partnership with Art Exhibitions Australia, this exhibition has been curated by Marine Kisiel and Paul Perrin of the Musée d’Orsay for the Art Gallery of South Australia. It will offer visitors the opportunity to experience iconic works by leading Impressionist painters from this peerless collection, as well as exploring one of the movement’s key innovations – the radical use and liberation of colour.

Mme Laurence des Cars, Présidente des musées d’Orsay et de l’Orangerie says The Musée d’Orsay is delighted to join in this first collaboration with the Art Gallery of South Australia. “After the exhibition The Impressionists: Masterpieces from the Musee d’Orsay, organised in 2004 in Melbourne, the Musée d’Orsay has continued to forge links with leading Australian cultural institutions.”

“The exhibition Colours of Impressionism: Masterpieces from the Musée d’Orsay will present carefully selected paintings from the museum’s Impressionist collection, which is the best in the world in this domain.”

Colours of Impressionism: Masterpieces from the Musée d’Orsay will run at the Art Gallery of South Australia from 29 March 2018. For more information, visit: www.artgallery.sa.gov.au for details.

Image: Claude Monet, The Water Lilies Pond, pink harmony, 1900 (detail), oil on canvas, 90 x 100 cm; Musée d’Orsay, Paris, France. © photo Musée d’Orsay / rmn

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