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The NGV is bringing more than 100 French masterpieces to Melbourne this winter

French Impressionism is the first NGV Winter Masterpieces exhibition since 2019

Nicola Dowse
Written by
Nicola Dowse

French Impressionism is host to arguably some of the most famous (and most loved) artists of all time. Monet, Pissarro, Renoir, Van Gogh and Degas are just some of the artists who achieved such acclaim that they remain household names even a century after their deaths. This winter you can see some of the artist's most beautiful and well-known works at the NGV's new Winter Masterpieces exhibition, French Impressionism: From the Museum of Fine Arts Boston.

From June 4 to October 3, the NGV will host more than 100 French Impressionist works by artists like Claude Monet, Vincent Van Gogh, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Edouard Manet, Camille Pissarro, Edgar DegasPaul Cézanne and Mary Cassatt. The exhibition is running in partnership with the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, which is well regarded for its collection of French Impressionist masterpieces. The collection of 100-plus works coming to Melbourne includes 79 paintings that have never been seen before in Australia, including 16 canvases from Monet that will be presented in a way that replicates the oval gallery that the artist helped design at the Musée dl’Orangerie, Paris.

Senior Curator of International Exhibition Projects, Dr Miranda Wallace, says "The NGV’s exhibition of French Impressionism will contain many extraordinary and celebrated paintings, such as Renoir’s 'Dance at Bougival' and Monet’s superlative 1905 canvas 'Water Lilies', as well as paintings by Van Gogh, Gauguin, Pissarro, Manet and Degas."

"These art works from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, are among the most iconic images of French Impressionism, and many of them epitomise what is most loved about the movement: radiant colour, iridescent light effects, a joyous and impassioned response to the beauty of nature."

French Impressionism will be presented thematically and in ten sections. It begins with the early work of Monet and his (at the time) revolutionary method of capturing the mercurial qualities of the environment by painting en plein air (in the open air). As the exhibition progresses you'll explore French Impressionism using some of the artists' favourite subjects and ideas. French Impressionism is designed to be immersive, and the exhibition will amplify some of the key elements of the movement (such as visible, distinctive brushstrokes, vibrant colours and interesting perspectives). 

Due to The Great Sequestering of 2020, this is the first Winter Masterpieces exhibition at the NGV since 2019's Terracotta Warriors: Guardians of Immortality and Cai Guo-Qiang: The Transient Landscape. French Impressionism forms part of the gallery's 2021 program, which also includes Queer and Big Weather

French Impressionism opens June 4, 2021 at the NGV International. Visit the NGV website for more. 

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