Video highlights creation of exhibit on impressionist France

The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art is offering a trip through impressionist France now through next February.

Impressionist France: Visions of Nation from Le Gray to Monet focuses on the works of painters and photographers during the emerging Impressionist movement, according to the museum.

The Nelson has a new video showing Simon Kelly, Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Saint Louis Art Museum, and April M. Watson, Associate Curator of Photographs at the Nelson-Atkins, talking about how the exhibit came about. Kelly and Watson traveled through France to the places depicted in photographs and paintings in the exhibit.

“Landscape imagery was an important aspect of the broader campaign to construct a new sense of nation in France during this time,” said Kelly. “Impressionist France explores the way painters and photographers constructed an idea of France through their explorations of the country’s exceptionally rich and diverse geography and history.”

Watson says the show details how painters and photographers embraced modern subjects “such as the railroads and factories that radically changed the natural landscape. In other instances, they rejected any signs of industrial progress in their works, preferring instead to celebrate nature and rural traditions.”


  • Impressionist France will be on view in Kansas City through February 9, 2014 and at the Saint Louis Art Museum from March 16 through July 6, 2104.
  • The exhibition will include important works from 42 museums and private collections, including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The J. Paul Getty Museum, The Art Institute of Chicago, the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the Victoria and Albert Museum, and the Musées nationaux du Palais de Compiègne, among many others. It will also be the first major exhibition to feature significant and important new acquisitions by the Nelson-Atkins in 19th-century French photography.
  • Rozzelle Court Restaurant will feature French-themed menu items throughout the run of the exhibition.

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