A city’s crown jewel to raise the bar again

“Hay Making” Jules Bastien-Lepage, 1877, Oil on canvas, 63 x 76 3/4 in. © RMN (Musée d'Orsay), Hervé Lewandowski

     There comes a time when one ‘crow call’ is just not enough to voice about a forthcoming spectacular; one that rings with visuals of streaming banners, motorcades, fireworks, including sounds of their other hometown icon of global recognition, its symphony as well as its exceptional publication, although its physical address is Broadway, its name shouts with the pride of where they are from and who they have been serving for over a century. The soon-to-be magic in the air will create a rebirth that will ‘flood’ this city’s historical journals; after all, there is nothing wrong with being last, considering the venue’s rank on the ladder.

      The Birth of Impressionism: Masterpieces from the Musée d’Orsay will open at the Frist Center for the Visual Arts in Nashville, Tennessee on Friday, Oct. 15, 2010 and will remain on view through January 23, 2011. The Frist is one of only three cities in the world to host this traveling show that tells the story of the development of Impressionism through the magnificent works of artists living in Paris in the mid-to-late 19th century. The exhibit opened in Madrid at MAPFRE in January 2010, and is currently on view at the de Young Museum in San Francisco until September 6.

     With most of the 100 paintings from the permanent collection of the Musée d’Orsay by such artists: Adolphe-William Bouguereau, Gustave Courbet, Edgar Degas, Édouard Manet, Claude Monet, Camille Pissarro, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Alfred Sisley, and James Abbott McNeill Whistler’s Arrangement in Gray and Black, No. 1: Portrait of the Painter’s Mother (1871), best known as Whistler’s Mother that been shown in Madrid and San Francisco, 17 different works will only be at The Frist, including: The Dance Foyer at the Opera on Rue Le Peletier by Edgar Degas (1872); Ballet Rehearsal on the Set by Edgar Degas (1874); Argenteuil by Claude Monet (1875); Church at Vétheuil by Claude  Monet (1879); Émile Zola by Édouard Manet (1868); The Woman with a White Jabot by Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1880); William Sisley by Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1864).

     Also included in the exhibition: The Fifer by Édouard Manet (1866);  Family Reunion by Frédéric Bazille (1867); Birth of Venus by Adolphe-William Bouguereau (1879); The Floor Scrapers by Gustave Caillebotte (1875); Racehorses before the Stands by Edgar Degas (1866–68); Nude with White Dog by Gustave Courbet (1861–62); Boy with a Cat, Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1868).

James Abbott McNeill Whistler. Arrangement in Grey and Black No. 1 (also called Portrait of the Artist's Mother), 1871. Oil on canvas, 56 7/8 x 64 in. © RMN (Musée d’Orsay), Jean-Gilles Berizzi

     The exhibition is divided into 13 themes: 

     The Salon of Paris examines themes of allegory and myth, classical antiquity and the links between French culture and past civilizations. 

     The Allure of Nature: Millet, Courbet, and the Rise of Realism looks at the appeal of rural living and the celebration of everyday.

     The Terrible Year: War and Civil War 1870–1871 examines the devastating effects of France’s defeat in the Franco-Prussian War and the ways in which the war and France’s need for renewed national pride served as agents of cultural and artistic change.

     Naturalism in the Salon focuses on the rise of Realism in the Salon exhibitions. Everyday subjects depicted in realistic new styles appealed to a rising middle class audience with little taste for the antique.

     Manet: Between the Salon and the Avant-Garde illustrates Édouard Manet’s rejection of the overly literary and allegorical flavor of the Salon in favor of a more direct and unadorned representation of “the ordinary” in everyday life, as depicted in such works as The Fifer (1866). One of Manet’s masterpieces, Émile Zola (1868), confirms the links between Realism and the naturalistic literature of the period, while showing a wide range of influences, including Spanish and Japanese art.

     The Portrait Tableau features the motif of a figure in an interior unified through harmonious orchestrations of form, value, color and space. A manifestation of the “art for art’s sake” concept, this is exemplified in by James Abbott McNeill Whistler’s Arrangement in Gray and Black, No. 1: Portrait of the Painter’s Mother (1871).

     Manet and The Batignolles School illustrates how Édouard Manet’s pioneering artistic achievements made him a leader of the emerging avant-garde that congregated in Paris’s Batignolles neighborhood to formulate the ideas that would eventually lead to  Impressionism. 

     Degas and Caillebotte: Images of Modern Life features the aesthetic realism of Edgar Degas and Gustave Caillebotte, who balanced an interest in light and color with a desire to portray everyday life through carefully planned compositions and finely controlled drawing.

     Artists Painting Artists features works in which artists of the avant-garde such as Paul Cézanne, Camille Pissarro and Édouard Manet painted each other’s portraits, providing fascinating insight into their personal relationships. 

     Toward the Impressionist Landscape reveals the influence of plein air painters Eugene Boudin and Johann Jongkind on Édouard Monet’s early development in the 1860s. 

     Classic Impressionism is the largest section of the exhibition, containing masterpieces of landscape painting created throughout the 1870s by Claude Monet, Camille Pissarro, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Alfred Sisley and Berthe Morisot.

     Pissarro and Cézanne explores the friendship and shared influences shaping the works of two of the earliest Impressionists, who painted similar subjects, often employing patterns of regularly applied brushstrokes, close tonalities and the frequent simplification of planes to define volume, weight, and space. Eventually, Camille Pissarro and Paul Cézanne would both depart from classic Impressionism— Pissarro to the pointillist technique of the younger artist Georges Seurat and Cézanne to an ever more geometric faceting. 

“Les baroques. Rebates á Argenteuil” Claude Monet, 1874 Oil on canvas, 23 5/8 x 39 3/8 in. © RMN (Musée d’Orsay), Hervé Lewandowski

     Manet: Impressionism and Beyond brings the exhibition full circle, showing that Édouard Manet not only influenced the Impressionists, but was in turn influenced by them to paint out of doors, lighten his palette, and explore increasingly gestural brushwork. These innovations appear in the artist’s luminous On the Beach (1873) and the modern history painting The Escape of Rochefort (ca. 1881).

     Tickets? Online and in person at the Frist Center. For more information on this world renowned exhibit, including this world class museum, call 615. 244.3340 or see: www.fristcenter.org.

Published by on September 2010. Filed under Archives, Art-to-Art Palette Journal, News (Time related). You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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