• Introduction

    This exhibition delves into the extraordinary trajectory of Modernism in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The Impressionists found a new method of painting traditional subjects, the Pointillists explored colour theory and the Cubists redefined the concept of form. This was an remarkable period for art in which change was embraced and the long accepted canon challenged with an inquisitive spirit.

     

     

  • A new way of painting - The Invention of the Aluminium Paint Tube

    Renoir painting at the Villa de la Poste, Cagnes, 1903

    A new way of painting - The Invention of the Aluminium Paint Tube

    The Parisian Academy, and its annual Salon de Paris, had deemed landscape and still life to be the lowest class subject matters and held Neo-Classicism in the highest esteem. Tired of these constraints the Impressionists strove to break with tradition in both subject matter and technique.

     

    While artists had previously worked from the confines of their studios, the Impressionists took to the outdoors. This allowed the artists - such as Monet, Renoir and Pissarro - to fully capture the changing effects of light on the landscape.

  • Instead of working from preliminary sketches the artists painted what was before them in that moment. This was made possible by John Rand’s 1841 invention of the aluminium paint tube that is still used to this day. It allowed for paint to be easily transported and keep its longevity. While their predecessors had taken great pains to mix colours, the Impressionists used pure colour straight from the tube. Renoir once exclaimed how “Without colours in tubes, there would be no Cézanne, no Monet, no Sisley or Pissarro: nothing of what the journalists were later to call Impressionism”.

  • Available Works

    • Pierre-Auguste Renoir Pré et arbres, 1893 Oil on canvas 9 1/8 x 15 3/8 in, 23 x 39 cm
      Pierre-Auguste Renoir
      Pré et arbres, 1893
      Oil on canvas
      9 1/8 x 15 3/8 in, 23 x 39 cm
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    • Pierre-Auguste Renoir Paysage, 1916 Oil on canvas 8 x 13 3/4 in, 20 x 35 cm
      Pierre-Auguste Renoir
      Paysage, 1916
      Oil on canvas
      8 x 13 3/4 in, 20 x 35 cm
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    • Henri Le Sidaner Le pont, Amiens, 1911 Oil on canvas 24 1/8 x 29 1/8 in, 61 x 74 cm
      Henri Le Sidaner
      Le pont, Amiens, 1911
      Oil on canvas
      24 1/8 x 29 1/8 in, 61 x 74 cm
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  • A New Paris and The New Woman

    Edgar Degas Chez la modiste (modiste garnissant un chapeau), c.1885, 

    Pastel and charcoal on paper, 46 x 58.8 cm

    A New Paris and The New Woman

    The changes in society at the end of the nineteenth century were reflected in artists’ work. Under the direction of Baron Hausmann Paris was remodelled from a maze of winding Medieval streets to wide tree lined boulevards and parks. A culture of people watching and cafés emerged. In his 1863 essay The Painter of Modern Life, Charles Baudelaire wrote of this new archetypal figure in society – the flaneur. The flaneur was a symbol of modernity; a man of leisure who spent their time strolling the street and observing contemporary life.

     

  • With the new emphasis on observation, artists such as Toulouse-Lautrec, Degas and Caillebotte fig2. took to recording those on the fringes of popular society with dignity and honesty. The Realist artists Courbet, Manet fig1. and Corot – who preceded Toulouse-Lautrec and Degas - had depicted the realities working class life, from afar with a detachment from their subjects. Degas and Toulouse-Lautrec thrust the viewer into the scene.

     

  • The feminist ideal of the New Woman also emerged, propelled by the rise in education and job opportunities for women. Of particular importance was the department store, which was a unique space that allowed women to mingle in society unchaperoned. Previously women had largely been employed at the factory or home, but the role of the saleswomen gave women a new opportunity within society.

  • Available Works

    • Émilie Charmy Nature morte avec cerises, 1920 Oil on canvas 7 3/16 x 10 3/8 in, 18.2 x 26.4 cm
      Émilie Charmy
      Nature morte avec cerises, 1920
      Oil on canvas
      7 3/16 x 10 3/8 in, 18.2 x 26.4 cm
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    • Émilie Charmy Marnat, 1913-15 Oil on canvas laid down on board 14 5/8 x 17 7/8 in, 37.1 x 45.4 cm
      Émilie Charmy
      Marnat, 1913-15
      Oil on canvas laid down on board
      14 5/8 x 17 7/8 in, 37.1 x 45.4 cm
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  • Theories of Colour and Vision

    Camille Pissarro

    Theories of Colour and Vision

    Artists became fascinated by the scientific discoveries at the end of the 19th Century. In 1886 Paul Signac and Georges Seurat, bored by Impressionism and spurred by advances in technology, mixed science and painting to create a new artistic technique. Seurat had read the highly influential Modern Chromatics, with Applications to Art and Industry by Ogden Nicholas Rood, first published five years earlier. The book of colour treatise delved into the science of colour optics and the power of complementary colour pairings.

     

    Based upon colour, optics and Rood’s writing, Seurat and Signac developed a radical technique that involved painting small dots of contrasting colours next to each other that appear separate when seen up close but create a single complete image when viewed from afar. This became known as Divisionism or Pointillism. In direct contrast to the Impressionist tendency of sweeping brushstrokes to capture a passing moment, Neo-Impressionism addressed a canvas with the utmost scientific precision.

  • Camille Pissarro : Pointillist Works

  • Museum Works

    Camille Pissarro was always keenly interested to learn about new artistic developments. On being introduced to the work of Signac and Seurat by his son Lucien, he was keen to embrace their new and exciting methods. Although he tired of the process after five years, his pointillist works mark an important part of his oeuvre, with many of the 70 works he created now in museum collections.

  • Available Works

    • Henri Martin Venise, La Salute, c.1910 Oil on cardboard 15 3/8 x 18 1/4 in, 39 x 46.2 cm
      Henri Martin
      Venise, La Salute, c.1910
      Oil on cardboard
      15 3/8 x 18 1/4 in, 39 x 46.2 cm
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    • Camille Pissarro Pommiers, effet d'automne, c. 1900 Oil on panel 5 1/2 x 7 7/8 in, 14 x 20.1 cm
      Camille Pissarro
      Pommiers, effet d'automne, c. 1900
      Oil on panel
      5 1/2 x 7 7/8 in, 14 x 20.1 cm
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    • Camille Pissarro Les Coteaux de Thierceville, temps gris, 1888 Oil on canvas 21 1/4 x 28 5/8 in, 54 x 72.8 cm
      Camille Pissarro
      Les Coteaux de Thierceville, temps gris, 1888
      Oil on canvas
      21 1/4 x 28 5/8 in, 54 x 72.8 cm
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  • Available Works

    • Roderic O'Conor Still life with spring flowers in a vase, c.1911 Oil on canvas 21 7/16 x 18 5/16 in, 54.5 x 46.5 cm
      Roderic O'Conor
      Still life with spring flowers in a vase, c.1911
      Oil on canvas
      21 7/16 x 18 5/16 in, 54.5 x 46.5 cm
    • Henri Manguin Flower Still Life, 1937 Oil on canvas 18 1/4 x 21 3/4 in, 46.4 x 55.2 cm
      Henri Manguin
      Flower Still Life, 1937
      Oil on canvas
      18 1/4 x 21 3/4 in, 46.4 x 55.2 cm
    • David Bomberg Figure Composition (Stable Interior Series), 1919 Oil on paper laid down on board 34 5/8 x 15 3/8 in, 88 x 39 cm
      David Bomberg
      Figure Composition (Stable Interior Series), 1919
      Oil on paper laid down on board
      34 5/8 x 15 3/8 in, 88 x 39 cm
    • Max Ernst Claire de lune, 1947 Oil on paper 6 x 8 ¼ in, 15.4 x 21.1 cm
      Max Ernst
      Claire de lune, 1947
      Oil on paper
      6 x 8 ¼ in, 15.4 x 21.1 cm
  • Artistic Freedom and the Move to Paris
    Marc Chagall, Corbeille au soleil (Gordes), c.1938-9
    Gouache, watercolour and pencil on paper, 60.5 x 48.6 cm
     
     

    Artistic Freedom and the Move to Paris

    At the turn of the 20th century Paris was at the heart of the avant-garde. With the promise of artistic freedom artists such as Marc Chagall and Jacques Lipchitz emigrated to the city from Eastern Europe, creating a melting pot of different styles and cultures. Individuality was celebrated and encouraged.

     

    Unlike in previous generations this new age of painters were not attached to a specific studio or School. Relieved from the confines of painting in a particular style there were new opportunities to experiment with technique and subject matter. This was furthered by artists no longer relying so heavily upon commissions. While Paris attracted many wealthy collectors the role of the patronage changed in the 20th century. Dealers such as Durant-Ruel and Aimé Maeght had their own galleries in which they supported and sold the works of Picasso, Chagall, Giacometti instead of solely commissioning pieces for their personal collections.

  • The period after World War I also saw artists seek a way of dealing with trauma. While the Expressionist looked to visualising the horrors of their experience, other artists sought a new lightness and joy in their work. Painters such as Dufy and Chagall desired an escapism from reality, producing works that transgressed stereotypical figuration.

  • Available Works

  • The rise of competitive sport in Cubism
    Andre Lhote, Les Footballeurs, 1916, Oil on canvas, 64 x 80 cm

    The rise of competitive sport in Cubism

    Sport was an important subject matter in early 20th century avant-garde painting. As sport came to prominence within society it also did within art: motor car racing was introduced at the end of the 19th century, the FA Cup was established in 1872 and the first Tour de France was in 1903. Artists were inspired to create works that would capture the vitality of these competitive situations.

  • While Futurism, Vorticism and Dada all embraced sport as an opportunity to express physicality and movement, for the cubists it was of particular interest. Jean Metzinger painted cyclists, Robert Delaunay depicted depicted runners, while between 1916 and 1920 Andre Lhote created his extraordinary rugby paintings. The sport had been introduced to France from England in the early 1870s and represented the ultimate in physical power.

  • Sport allowed the artists to express the energy, dynamism, excitement, and speed of the games as well as their aggression. The sharp geometric forms with figures cutting across each other was the perfect subject for the cubists to explore various depths and multiple planes of vision.

  • Available Works