A wide-ranging exploration of the birth of impressionism centered around the landmark exhibition in Paris in 1874
Discover the origins of impressionism in this revelatory look at the context for the radical 1874 exhibition that is considered the birth of the French art movement. Featuring works by not only Cézanne, Degas, Monet, Morisot, Pissarro, Renoir, and Sisley, but also many other lesser-known participants and those who exhibited at the official Salon that year, this book explores how artists of the time responded to the shifting social and political currents during this singular moment in history, as well as the norms that these artists rebelled against in their new approach to art. This is a milestone reunion of many of the show’s artworks, which include paintings, works on paper, prints, and sculptures, that made the exhibition held by the société anonyme 150 years ago an event of international and lasting significance.
Paris 1874 draws on new scholarship to offer a multidisciplinary approach to impressionism. It explores the important role played by the contemporary press and also contextualizes the movement in relation to the devastation of the Franco-Prussian War and the Commune, as well as the subsequent process of reconstruction. Above all, it challenges established narratives surrounding the origins of impressionism itself by reexamining its position within the larger artistic landscape, particularly in relation to the Salon—which exhibited works strikingly similar to those included in société anonyme’s exhibition. With an engaging design that uses motifs from archival materials to suggest the look of Parisian publications of the 1870s, this book is a handsome and compelling addition to our understanding of the dawn of impressionism and why it is considered a pivotal moment in the history of Western art.
Distributed for the National Gallery of Art, Washington
Musée d’Orsay, Paris (March 25–July 14, 2024)
National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC (September 8, 2024–January 19, 2025)
Sylvie Patry is artistic director at Kamel Mennour Gallery, Paris. Anne Robbins is curator of painting at the Musée d’Orsay, Paris.
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