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Seeing Impressionists in a new light

April 23rd, 2018

Claude Monet's rendering of a 19th Century train station.

Claude Monet, Arrival of the Normandy Train, Gare Saint-Lazare, 1877. Oil on canvas, 60.3 x 80.2 cm. Art Institute of Chicago, Mr. and Mrs. Martin A. Ryerson Collection, 1933.1158.  Image © Art Institute of Chicago/ Art Resource, NY.

Roads, trains, bridges and workers – these help a growing city thrive. And that’s as true for Toronto’s evolution as it was for Paris in the late 1800s. An exciting new exhibition will explore how Impressionist artists reflected their changing city.

Beginning with the Impressionists, around 1870, and ending at the turn of the 20th century, this new exhibition will bring masterpieces from around the world to the AGO in February 2019, including key works by Monet from the Musée d’Orsay and the Art Institute of Chicago. The exhibition will present highlights from the AGO’s Collection in a new light, including Camille Pissarro’s Pont Boieldieu in Rouen, Damp Weather and James Tissot’s The Shop Girl. This groundbreaking exhibition will be the first-ever dedicated to exploring Impressionist and Post-Impressionist representations of industry and labour.

“Bringing these works together will reveal a grittier side to the art of this period, which is more often associated with sunny landscapes along the Seine River and leisure activities,” says Caroline Shields, the AGO’s Assistant Curator, European Art. “The exhibition will encourage our visitors to draw connections between this period in art history and the rapid expansion that Toronto is experiencing today.”

Impressionist artists came of age at a time when Paris was being transformed, evolving from a maze of medieval alleys into the cosmopolitan capitol of grand boulevards that we know today. Fascinated by the rapid pace of change, the Impressionists captured on canvas the workers, machines and factories that were forever altering their city. Last year’s celebrated exhibition, Mystical Landscapes: Masterpieces from Monet, Van Gogh and more, explored the mystical side of Impressionism. This upcoming new exhibition promises to show you another aspect of these master painters as we explore how industry and labour were represented in the Impressionist era.

The exhibition will open in February 2019 in the Sam & Ayala Zacks Pavilion. More details will be available at a later date – stay tuned!

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This exhibition is organized by the Art Gallery of Ontario.


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