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The Impressionist Revolution: Forty Years of French Art at the Dixon opens

4/24/2016

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Organized by Dixon Gallery and Gardens

The first Impressionist Exhibition of 1874 brought to light the innovations of a rebellious group of artists, later known as the Impressionists. But such radical change was not born overnight. Using quintessential works from the Dixon’s own collection, The Impressionist Revolution will demonstrate the impact of techniques and subjects employed by artists working a generation before the Impressionists. And it will reveal how the Impressionists’ revolutionary experiments created a new visual language that has influenced the art world ever since. 

The Impressionist Revolution begins in France in the 1830s when the country was on the brink of great change. The social and political upheavals of the nineteenth century and the invention of lithography set the stage for Honoré Daumier to use illustration as vehicle for social commentary. At the same time, a growing interest in a more natural approach to landscape painting occurred among academically-trained painters. Retreating to the forest of Fontainebleau outside of Paris, these artists were dubbed the Barbizon School, and their plein air painting style proved highly influential. The Impressionist revolution, its seeds planted in the forest of Fontainebleau and fertilized in the increasingly urban landscape of modern Paris, was beginning to take shape. 

 From 1874 to 1886, a group of artists who initially called themselves the Anonymous Society of Painters, Sculptors, Printmakers, etc., held eight exhibitions independent of the conservative Paris Salon, effectively launching the Impressionist movement. Their lightened palette and loose brushwork was a departure from the highly-finished works in the Salon. The core group included Camille Pissarro, Claude Monet, Edgar Degas, Berthe Morisot, and Pierre-Auguste Renoir; but at times extended to as many as thirty artists, including Paul Cézanne, Jean-Louis Forain, Paul Gauguin, and Georges Seurat. The Impressionist Revolution also explores the Post-Impressionists’ move toward abstraction and the rise of modern art with works by Georges Braque and Marc Chagall. The incredible examples of painting and sculpture on view in The Impressionist Revolution illustrate how Dixon’s permanent collection is perfectly poised to tell the story of Impressionism, from its roots to its lasting influence.


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