Following the recent success with its Eugene von Guérard: Artist-Traveller exhibition, the Art Gallery of Ballarat presents the stunning international exhibition, Into Light: French masterworks from the Musée de la Chartreuse,
On loan from the Douai regional art museum in the Flanders region of northern France, Into Light tells the story of French painting in the nineteenth from the Classical to Post Impressionism through a selection sixty works from from Douai museum’s collection.
In the mid-nineteenth century, France was the acknowledged centre of the art world, as realist styles of painting were challenged by Impressionism. With the advent of photography many artists worked to imitate nature, finding new ways to celebrate light and colour as spontaneous ‘impressions’.
“As the title suggests, light is the central theme of our exhibition,” says Exhibition curator, Julie McLaren. “Capturing light on canvas has entranced, eluded and obsessed countless artists, most famously perhaps by the Impressionists who sought to document the fleeting and transient effect of sunlight through short brushstrokes of pure colour.”
Into Light traces these developments. It ranges from the idealised classical imagery of the late eighteenth century, romantic seascapes and tranquil landscapes depicting the mills and canals of northern France, through to paintings which celebrate the effects of pure light and colour, and works which explore the lives of ordinary people, rarely seen in earlier painting.
The exhibition shows how the impact of these changes was felt as far afield as Australia, where artists started imitating their French counterparts and took to painting en plein air.
“The nineteenth-century wealth which the coal industry brought to Douai enabled the Musée de la Chartreuse to build an impressive collection, including French paintings from the eighteenth through to the twentieth century,” said Ms McLaren. “For both Douai and Ballarat, nineteenth-century industry brought wealth, and investment in cultural institutions, so the collections are worth comparing.”
The Douai collection provides the perfect backdrop to highlight the breadth of the Ballarat gallery’s extraordinary collection of works by European and Australian artists. “Prominent among the works on display will be a rarely seen treasure of the Ballarat collection, Paul Signac’s 1923 watercolour, Fishing boats at Lomalo,” added Ms McLaren.
The visiting international works will be complemented by a selection of key works from Australian collections by European and Australian artists such as E Phillips Fox, Ethel Carrick Fox, David Davies and Hilda Rix Nicholas from the National Gallery of Victoria, the Art Gallery of New South Wales and Bendigo Art Gallery.
Into Light: French masterworks from the Musée de la Chartreuse
Art Gallery of Ballarat, 40 Lydiard Street North, Ballarat
Exhibition continues to 9 September 2018
Entry fees apply
For more information, visit: www.artgalleryofballarat.com.au for details.
Image: Henri Le Sidaner, Le Dimanche, 1898 (detail)