Impressionists and Post-impressionists, The Birth of Modern Art

Vincent Van GoghPortrait of the artist© RMN-Grand-Palais (Musée d'Orsay) / Gérard Blot
The exhibition Impressionists and Post-Impressionists: The Birth of Modern Art traces the evolution of the final years of Impressionism and the Post-Impressionist movement through 78 great masterpieces from the Musée d'Orsay.

In 1886, the Impressionist group held its eighth and final exhibition at the gallery run by the art dealer Durand-Ruel. Over the course of eight legendary shows, these artists had blown the traditional conception of painting to smithereens. Critics and the public were starting to assimilate the stylistic novelties, and the Impressionists had begun to make a name for themselves.
Thus, between 1886 and 1900 a more profound and radical modernity was able to develop. Impressionism evolved towards different pictorial approaches, traditionally defined as Post-Impressionist but which actually expanded on the provocative aspect of Impressionism, defining the stylistic principles that would pave the way for the languages of the 20th-century avant-gardes.

The exhibition opens with Monet's early series (Haystacks, Poplars and Cathedrals) and ends with the decorative works of Vuillard in his Public Gardens. The path between these two markers is lined with Renoir's works on the theme of bathers, pieces by Seurat, Signac and Pissarro that document the rise of Neo-Impressionism, the Constructivism of Cézanne, Toulouse-Lautrec's portrait of the underworld, the escape of Gauguin and his friends to Brittany, the work of Les Nabis, exemplified by Sérusier, Maurice Denis, Bonnard and Vallotton, and Van Gogh's descent into madness in Arles.


Caroline Mathieu, Chief curator, Musée d'Orsay
The exhibition has been co-organised by FUNDACIÓN MAPFRE and the Musée d'Orsay, which has lent some of its greatest masterpieces for this exceptional event.

2 February - 5 May 2013

Madrid, Fundación Mapfre

Enlarge font size Reduce font size Tip a friend Print