Monet, Renoir and the Next Generations

The Development of Impressionism

Jan.21 (Sat), 2012 – Jul.8 (Sun), 2012
This exhibition examines how French Impressionism, led by Claude Monet and Pierre Auguste Renoir, influenced artists active in the twentieth century such as Pierre Bonnard, Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso. It consists of approximately 60 French works produced between the second half of the nineteenth century and the first half of the twentieth: the core of the Western painting collection of the Pola Museum of Art.

Monet, Renoir and the other Impressionists transformed French painting in the late nineteenth century. Using bright colors, they vividly depicted the worlds of nature and urban society, as caught in their own eyes. Starting in 1874, they organized group exhibitions in Paris, although these did not continue long. The eighth show, in 1886, in which “Neo-Impressionists” – namely Georges Seurat and Paul Signac – took part, virtually put an end to their group activity.

The first part of the current exhibition, “1886 — Impressionism in Crisis” illustrates the changes which overtook Impressionist art decisively in that year. “Chapter 1: Monet and Renoir” follows the two men in pursuit of their own art during the 1880s, after their defection from the group exhibitions. “Chapter 2: The Painters around the Last Impressionist Exhibition” covers the activities and origins of the artists who participated in the eighth exhibition, including Neo-Impressionists, Paul Gauguin and Odilon Redon. “Chapter 3: Cézanne” focuses on the personal quest of Paul Cézanne, based in southern France, after he, like Monet and Renoir, made an early departure from the group.

The second part of the exhibition, “Impressionism after 1900: Monet, Renoir and the Next Generations,” examines how emerging new artists evaluated the development of Impressionism, centering on Monet and Renoir. “Chapter 1: Monet and Fauvism” focuses on Monet's serial works, begun in the 1890s and highly esteemed for their innovativeness and influence on artists such as Henri Matisse, André Derain and Maurice de Vlaminck (active at the beginning of the twentieth century, they were called Fauves [wild beasts] for their use of vivid colors). Chapter 2 – which consists of two parts, “Bonnard and Monet” and “Bonnard and Renoir” – sets out to show what Pierre Bonnard, a close friend of both Monet and Renoir, discovered in their late works and how he made it part of his own art. “Chapter 3: Matisse and Renoir” deals with Matisse's repeated visits to Les Collettes, Renoir's last home at Cagnes-sur-Mer, in southern France. “Chapter 4: Picasso and Renoir” traces Renoir's lingering presence in the early twentieth century in the work of Pablo Picasso who, though not personally acquainted with the artist, responded implicitly in his “Neo-Classicism” period.

Through the great painters' determination to keep creating in their old age and the desire of young painters to seek out these masters and honor them – through the diverse interaction of different generations – we are able to see what the phrase, “the development of Impressionism,” truly means.