Claude Monet’s masterpiece Impression, Soleil levant (Impression, Sunrise) gives its name to the Impressionism art movement and is the central painting that ties the National Gallery of Australia’s latest exhibition together.
If Claude Monet was alive today and living in Canberra, he would be seen on the shores of our lakes at first and last light creating masterpieces that in 150 years would be adorning the walls of galleries and admired by many. So, it is only fitting that the National Gallery of Australia’s latest exhibition features his masterpieces along other notable and significant artists to explore this art movement.
The art movement of Impressionism took its name from Monet’s painting Impression, Soleil levant in the 19th century. The movement originated in Paris, and artworks often emphasize the passage of time through light fluctuations.
Monet has been credited with describing Impressionism as [you] ‘try to forget what objects you have before you – a tree, a house, a field, or whatever. Merely think, ‘Here is a little square of blue, here an oblong of pink, here a streak of yellow,’ and paint it just as it looks to you, the exact color and shape, until it gives you your own impression of the scene before you’. Indeed the brushstrokes are characterised as small and thin, yet visible to the naked eye.
The exhibition marks the first time that Impression, Soleil levant, will leave the walls of Paris for the Southern hemisphere. It, along with almost sixty other paintings – including some by JMW Turner whose early works served as inspiration for Monet – from the Musée Marmottan Monet in Paris, the Tate, and Australian and New Zealand collections will be on display in a newly designed gallery space where previously the Australian collection was housed.
I overhead Nick Mitzevich describing the Impressionist movement to a member of the media, and I think his description is accurate, eloquent and simple to understand; ‘the painting is not finished; this is where impressionism takes it name – it is an impression of what the artist is seeing’. Thinking about it, it makes perfect sense to me, and as I gaze at the paintings adorning the new redesigned gallery space I can’t help but feel that I am standing next to these masters, looking at the scene before them and taking in the impression of that moment.
The NGA will also have a dedicated space for their ‘Monet’s Tea Salon‘ – a high tea that is sure to enhance the Monet experience – with sittings at 11am and 2pm. The corridor adjoining the gallery space has been converted to accommodate this.
People discuss my art and pretend to understand as if it were necessary to understand, when it’s simply necessary to love, Claude Monet
What you need to know
Dates: 7th June to 1st September 2019
Prices: A single visit adult ticket is $22*, children (up to 16 years) accompanied by an adult are free
Monet’s Tea Salon
$70* inclusive of entry to the exhibition. Available for a 11am or 2pm sitting between 7 June and 21 July 2019
* Please note that tickets purchased through Ticketek may attract a fee which is not applicable if purchased directly from the gallery.