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Major Impressionist exhibition a 'coup' for Art Gallery of SA


More than 65 Impressionist masterpieces from Paris’s Musée d’Orsay will come to Adelaide in 2018 for what has been described as “the most important exhibition ever to be shown at the Art Gallery of South Australia”.

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Colours of Impressionism: Masterpieces from the Musée d’Orsay, to run from March 29 until July 29 in the gallery’s Elder Wing, will feature works by artists including Monet, Renoir, Gauguin, Manet, Morisot, Pissarro and Cézanne.

It will explore colour as the guiding force behind the evolution of the important 19th-century art movement.

Premier and Arts Minister Jay Weatherill hailed Colours of Impressionism as “a real coup for our gallery”, while AGSA director Nick Mitzevich said it would be “the most important exhibition ever to be shown at the Art Gallery of South Australia” and the state’s first major museum exhibition to focus on Impressionist painting.

“It is a privilege to be working with the esteemed Musée d’Orsay to bring these masterpieces of French Impressionism to Australia,” Mitzevich said.

“We anticipate that an exhibition of this calibre and content will have broad appeal, and that the focus on colour will provide a unique perspective on one of the most ground-breaking movements in Western art.”

The exhibition will include 10 paintings by Monet, with the gallery saying one of the highlights will be La Pie (The Magpie, pictured top), a snowscape featuring “a novel palette of pale, lustrous colours” which caused it to be rejected by the Paris Salon art exhibition in 1869.

Claude Monet, The Water Lilies Pond, pink harmony, 1900, oil on canvas, 90 x 100cm, Musée d’Orsay, Paris. Photo: Musée d’Orsay / rmn

Colours of Impressionism has been curated by Marine Kisiel and Paul Perrin, of the Musée d’Orsay, for the Art Gallery of South Australia.

Museum director Laurence des Cars said the paintings had been carefully selected from its collection, which was the best in the world.

“Masterpieces like Manet’s Serveuse de bocks [The Waitress], Cézanne’s Golfe de Marseille [Bay of Marseille], Caillebotte’s Vue des Toits [Rooftops], and Renoir’s Gabrielle à la rose [Gabrielle with a Rose] will be on display, along with an exceptional collection of 10 paintings by Monet, including La Pie [The Magpie], Un Coin d’appartement [A Corner of the Apartment], Le Bassin aux nymphéas, harmonie rose [Water Lily Pond, Pink Harmony] and one of the Musée d’Orsay’s five versions of the Cathédrale de Rouen [Rouen Cathedral].”

The gallery said the Elder Wing, “one of Australia’s few 19th-century gallery spaces”, was a fitting backdrop for Colours of Impressionism, recalling “the light-filled interior of the former metro station that now houses the Musée d’Orsay on Paris’Left Bank”.

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