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Australian Impressionists in France

John RUSSELL
Peonies and head of a woman (c. 1887)
oil on canvas
40.7 x 65.0 cm
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
The Joseph Brown Collection. Presented through the NGV Foundation by Dr Joseph Brown AO OBE, Honorary Life Benefactor, 2004
2004.218

On 15 June 2013, the National Gallery of Victoria will open a major exhibition, Australian Impressionists in France.   Amassing over 130 works, the exhibition will focus for the first time on the remarkable story of Australian Impressionist artists who lived and worked in France from 1885 to 1915.  

Tony Ellwood, Director, NGV said that Australian Impressionists in France will challenge our understanding of what was ‘Australian’ art and who participated in this revolutionary Impressionist movement.

“While earlier exhibitions of the Australian Impressionists have confined their scope to Australia, Australian Impressionists in France will show how other Australian artists participated in the global movement of Impressionism and worked alongside some of the leading artists of the time.

“Through an intriguing collection of insightful stories and letters describing these young artists’ adventures through France, this exhibition will resonate with contemporary audiences who today share similar experiences of overseas travel,” said Mr Ellwood.

A bold and ambitious companion to Monet’s Garden: The Musee Marmottan Monet, Paris, paintings, prints , drawings and photographs from renowned Australian artists such as John Russell, E. Phillips Fox, Charles Conder, Ethel Carrick, Kathleen O’Connor will be shown alongside selected works by the artists friends and peers Claude Monet, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Pierre Bonnard, Camille Pissarro and others.

Beginning with the first group of Australians to study in the French ateliers in the late 1880s, including E. Phillips Fox, Tudor St George Tucker and John Longstaff, the exhibition will show how Australian artists engaged with contemporary trends and examine their subsequent influence upon art in Australia.

Continuing into the first decades of the twentieth century the exhibition will present the work of a new generation in France which included many women artists such as Margaret Preston and Kathleen O’Connor.

Australian Impressionists in France will show the complex web of artistic exchange and friendships between Australian, French and other expatriate artists. Claude Monet demonstrated his Impressionist technique to John Russell; Charles Conder trawled the cabarets of Montmartre with Henri Toulouse-Lautrec, and; Vincent van Gogh considered Russell a friend. In France, Australian artists engaged in personal and artistic exchanges with artists from around the world.

While Charles Conder is known to Australian audiences primarily for his Australian landscapes, this exhibition will include major works painted by Conder in Europe during the 1890s.

Elena Taylor, Australian Art Curator, NGV said: “This exhibition will look at this most vital period of Australian art in a new way. For the first time, the work of the Australian artists will be considered within an international, rather than national context, allowing for a new understanding of their work and indeed of this period.”

 Australian Impressionists in France will be on display at The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia from 15 June – 6 October 2013. 10am – 5pm. Closed Mondays.  Adult $16 | Child $8 | Concession $12

-ends-

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Major Exhibition Partner
Macquarie Group                             

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