Monet: Impression Sunrise: National Gallery of Australia

As arguably one of the most popular movements in 20th-century art history, Impressionism’s capacity to captivate audiences is seemingly undiminished some 147 years later. It is easy, however, to forget what an iconoclastic movement it proved to be. Monet: Impression Sunrise, on now at the National Gallery of Australia, is an exhibition focused on one specifically defining artwork: Claude Monet’s iconic masterpiece Impression, Soleil levan. Painted in 1872, from the artist’s hotel window in Le Havre, it captures an impression of the rising sun over the busy harbour port. Critically reviled at the time, it gave rise, and a name, to a new aesthetic movement. This pivotal work is at the heart of the exhibition curated by the Scientific Director of the Musée Marmottan Monet, Marianne Mathieu, and specifically shines a spotlight on Monet as an art radical. Some 60 works have travelled from Paris to elaborate the influence of other artists on Monet, including key paintings by JMW Turner, James McNeill Whistler and Eugene Boudin, as well as Impressionist contemporaries such as Alfred Sisley and Berthe Morisot – one of the few women of the Impressionist movement. The exhibition is organised by the Musée Marmottan Monet, Paris – home to the largest collection of artworks by Monet in the world, including more than 100 paintings donated by Michel Monet, the artist’s son – in association with the National Gallery of Australia and Art Exhibitions Australia. Monet: Impression Sunrise is on display at the National Gallery of Australia until September 1, 2019.

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