Impressionism in the Age of Industry: Monet, Pissarro and More at the Art Gallery of Ontario

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One of Tim Marlow's picks for Must-See February Museum Exhibitions is Impressionism in the Age of Industry: Monet, Pissarro and More at the Art Gallery of Ontario. The exhibition explores how the Impressionists reacted to the industrial age in which they lived. The paintings on display, by major Impressionists and Post-Impressionists including Monet, Degas, Seurat, Pissarro and van Gogh, depict not the natural landscapes which the Impressionists are most popularly known for, but instead take as their subjects cities, factories, manual labor and scenes unique to the industrial techniques and ways of life recently introduced to the world.

View all of Tim Marlow's Must-See Museum Exhibitions for February 2019 here.

Impressionism in the Age of Industry: Monet, Pissarro and More at the Art Gallery of Ontario

  • Photo courtesy of John Joh and Wikimedia Commons.
    Art Gallery of Ontario, Exterior View
    The Art Gallery of Ontario, located in Toronto, is one of the largest museums in North America. A $276 million redevelopment plan created by Frank Gehry began in 2004, resulting in the museum's current building - a huge, modern space befitting of a world-class permanent collection. It holds nearly 100,000 works of art from the 1st century through to the present day. The museum also frequently displays some of the most influential, important exhibitions. Impressionism in the Age of Industry: Monet, Pissarro and More is the latest in a long line of remarkable exhibitions that challenge orthodoxy and reshape popular opinion about the art historical canon.
  • Image courtesy of St. Louis Art Museum.
    Vincent van Gogh, Factories at Clichy, 1887
    Oil on canvas, 53.7 x 72.7cm.

    One of the paintings on display is Vincent van Gogh's 1887 painting Factories at Clichy. The subject of the piece is not the pastoral scenes for which van Gogh is perhaps best-known; instead, the painting depicts factories and the smoke their chimneys produce. The colors are strikingly muted, contrasting with the very bright colors in more famed paintings like Sunflowers and Starry Night. This choice of subject and the colors that van Gogh chose to depict it demonstrate one of the ways van Gogh reacted to the Industrial Age.
  • Photo courtesy of Art Gallery of Ontario.
    Camille Pissarro, Le pont Boieldieu à Rouen, temps mouillé, (Pont Boieldieu in Rouen, Rainy Weather), 1896
    Oil on canvas, 73.6 x 91.4 cm.

    Camille Pissarro's 1896 painting Le pont Boieldieu à Rouen, temps mouillé depicts a smoky urban scene. As with van Gogh's painting Factories at Clichy, Pissarro deploys Impressionist techniques, using loose brushwork to depict the constant movement and chaotic activity of a busy, industrialized city.
  • Photo courtesy of FAMSF.
    Georges Seurat, Eiffel Tower, 1889
    Oil on panel, 24.1 x 15.2 cm.

    In this 1889 painting, Seurat turns his gaze from idyllic countryside scenes to Paris and the Eiffel Tower. 1889 was the last year of the Tower's construction, and its incomplete state can be seen in the work, where the top of the tower remains incomplete and seems to blend in with the sky. Seurat used his characteristic pointilist style and bright color scheme in this painting, despite the subject of the painting being a major construction project in a heavily industrialized capital city.
  • Photo courtesy of National Gallery of Art, Washington DC.
    Edgar Degas, Woman Ironing, c. 1876-1887
    Oil on canvas, 81.3 x 66 cm.

    Edgar Degas is one of the most famous Impressionists, whose depictions of dancers are perhaps his best-known works. In this painting, Degas focuses on a more mundane, everyday scene - a woman ironing clothes. The work still displays his characteristic pastel tones and loose brushwork, but the subject is less romanticized than the dancers and the dances whose motion, elegance and glamor obsessed the painter. In keeping with the exhibition's theme, this painting seems to offer a response by one of the leading Impressionists to the changes which the Industrial Age was bringing to everyday life.
  • Maximilian Luce, Les Batteurs de pieux, le chantier, 1900
    Oil on canvas, 73.4 x 92.2 cm.

    Luce's bright color scheme and pointilist style, which resembles Seurat's, brings a vibrant and joyous tone, contrasting greatly with the painting's subject matter of manual labor and factories spewing smoke into the sky. The painting does not seem to project any particular opinion on the Industrial Age; instead, Luce applies characteristic Impressionist techniques to subject matter not typically associated with the Impressionists.

    View all of Tim Marlow's Must-See Museum Exhibitions for February 2019 here .
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