Musée d'Orsay: 150th anniversary of the first Impressionist exhibition

»Paris 1874: Inventing impressionism«

This exhibition went down in history and is considered the beginning of modern art: the first Impressionist exhibition took place in Paris on April 15, 1874. The Musée d'Orsay in Paris is commemorating this event with a major exhibition that begins on March 26.

March 26, 2024
Berthe Morisot (1841 -1895) Vue du petit port de Lorient, 1869
Washington, The National Gallery of Art, Ailsa Mellon Bruce Collection, 1970.17.48 Image Courtesy of the National Gallery of Art, Washington
Berthe Morisot (1841 -1895) Vue du petit port de Lorient, 1869, Huile sur toile 43,5 x 73 cm

Depictions of »modern life«, painting outdoors, light and color as the ultimate in painting: the artists who later became famous as Impressionists were looking for new approaches to art. They considered academic painting to be outdated and social upheavals demanded new art. Led by Claude Monet, a small group of artists succeeded in organizing an exhibition on their own, which in retrospect is seen as the beginning of modern art. In reality, the exhibition of the Société anonyme des artistes peintres, sculpteurs, graveurs, etc., which was pejoratively described as Impressionist by one critic, was not a success. From April 15, 1874, it was on display for a month in the studio of the famous photographer Nadar at 35 Boulevard des Capucines. The works of art hardly attracted any visitors, who mainly flocked to the now established Salon des Refusés, which regularly attracted scandals. But the artists persevered, and by 1886 they had opened seven more Impressionist exhibitions – one of the most influential and famous art movements of all. To mark the 150th anniversary of the first exhibition, the Musée d'Orsay is presenting around 130 works of art from the period in Paris 1874: Inventing impressionism, which can be seen from March 26 to July 14.

The Musée d'Orsay is home to the largest collection of Impressionist art in the world. For the exhibition, however, the museum borrowed a total of 78 works from institutions throughout France in order to meet the demands of the anniversary exhibition and contextualization. 31 artists exhibited at the now famous presentation, including Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Edgar Degas, Berthe Morisot, Camille Pissarro, Alfred Sisley and Paul Cézanne.

The exhibition was created in collaboration with the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., where it will be shown from September 8, 2024 to January 20, 2025.Art.Salon

Claude Monet (1840 -1926) Boulevard des Capucines, 1873 -1874
Kansas City, Nelson -Atkins Museum of Art, achat du fonds d’acquisition de la Fondation Kenneth A. and Helen F. Spencer, 1972 Image courtesy Nelson -Atkins Media Services
Claude Monet (1840 -1926) Boulevard des Capucines, 1873 -1874, Huile sur toile 80,3 × 60,3 cm

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