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VeriArtem.comNewsMusée d’Orsay celebrates 150 years of Impressionism

Musée d’Orsay celebrates 150 years of Impressionism

From March 25 to July 14, 2024, Musée d’Orsay presents “Paris 1874: The Impressionist Moment”, an exhibition honoring the 150th anniversary of the first impressionist exhibition.

Source: National Gallery of Art, Washington · Image: Édouard Manet, “The Railway”, 1873, oil on canvas. National Gallery of Art, Washington

On April 15, 1874, an exhibition by the “Anonymous Society of Painters, Sculptors, and Engravers, etc.” opened at the Parisian studio of the photographer Nadar on the Boulevard des Capucines. It was a defiant response to the official, government-sponsored annual exhibition known as the Paris Salon. The first exhibition of these Société anonyme artists included works by Claude Monet, Auguste Renoir, Edgar Degas, Berthe Morisot, Camille Pissarro, Alfred Sisley, and Paul Cézanne, later known as impressionists. This now-legendary event is often considered the birth of modernist painting and remains a key moment in the history of Western art.

What exactly happened in Paris in the spring of 1874, and what meaning can we attach to the emergence of this artistic movement? Works shown at the first impressionist exhibition will be put into perspective alongside paintings and sculptures displayed at the official 1874 Salon. This unprecedented juxtaposition will help us understand the visual shock that visitors experienced when first encountering the works of the impressionists.

The exhibition will also explore the circumstances that led more than 30 artists to defy the official system of the Salon, with its judges, prizes, and government approval, by showing their art independently. At the time, France was struggling to recover from its defeat in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870–1871, the siege of Paris and the violence of civil war. Following these crises, artists were rethinking their art, discovering their voices, and exploring new directions.

After its venue in Paris, “Paris 1874: The Impressionist Moment” will be shown at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, from September 8, 2024 to January 20, 2025.

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