The French are sharing some of their beautiful visual heritage with us right now. At the AGNSW are the wonderful Lady and the Unicorn tapestries, while the Art Gallery of South Australia is showing Colours of Impressionism: Masterpieces from the Musée d’Orsay (until 29 July). It is a coup for the AGSA to have secured more than 65 impressionist masterpieces from the renowned collection of the Musée d’Orsay in Paris. The exhibition is chosen to chart the revolution of colour that lies at the very heart of Impressionism. It includes master works by Monet, Renoir, Manet, Morisot, Pissarro and Cézanne, demonstrating the Impressionists’ use of colour in their radical reshaping of painting in the nineteenth century. Monet is particularly well represented with 10 of his paintings.
The paintings are hung to great effect in the 19th century Elder Wing of this really lovely building. Also on show will be the Gallery’s own painting, the centrepiece of its impressionist collection: a landscape Prairie à Éragny by Camille Pissarro (1886). A beautiful and important work, the Pissarro was acquired by the Gallery at a Sotheby’s auction in New York in 2014 for $4.4 million, raised entirely from private donors.
That acquisition and this current exhibition are greatly to the credit of the Gallery’s still young Director, Nick Mitzevich who will be leaving Adelaide towards the end of the year to become Director of the National Gallery in Canberra. That’s a loss for Adelaide but lucky for Canberra.
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