Musée des Beaux-Arts – Rouen
29 April – 30 September 2013
The theme of reflections on water has been central to art since the classical age. In the nineteenth century the Impressionists employed the motif of constantly changing bodies of water to represent the ephemeral and transitory nature of reality. For Monet, Pissarro, Caillebotte, Renoir and Sisley it was a means to capture an instant in time – one that vibrated in unison with a world in constant change – in which speed and light played a leading role.
With Monet, the notion of reflections provided particularly rich food for thought, from his stay in the Netherlands to the series of Poplars, from the views of Vétheuil to the Japanese bridges and the Water Lilies in the pond inGiverny.
For the generations of artists who followed, the flickering reflections on the water’s surface thus came to signify the renewal of painting. In the work of Cézanne they were informed by density, in that of Whistler poetics, and with Signac they represented full freedom from restraint. At the end of the day, the great developments in modern painting were established around the motif of water.
The exhibition expounds the modern reflection on this aesthetic theme through a hundred or so paintings by Monet, Renoir, Manet, Caillebotte, Signac, Cézanne and Van Gogh and a splendid collection of photographs (Gustave Le Gray, Charles Marville, Peter Henry Emerson, among others).
The exhibition is organised by the City of Rouen and the Réunion des Musées Nationaux – Grand Palais.
Curator : Sylvain Amic, Director of the musées de Rouen.