Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Radiance – The Neo Impressionists

National Gallery of Victoria spire from a distance

As Melbourne’s heatwave continues, it seemed appropriate to finally catch up with the National Gallery of Victoria’s Summer Exhibition, very aptly entitled The Neo Impressionists: Radiance.

Though only a small exhibition, it was nevertheless illuminating, not only for the gorgeous light-filled paintings, but also as regards the philosophy of the Neo Impressionists movement, about which I was somewhat vague.

Unlike the original Impressionists, who favoured the direct impact and spontaneity of painting outdoors, the Neo Impressionists approached the art of painting light in a more scientific fashion, and most often painted their works indoors in the studio, after executing sketches at the scene.

Artists covered included Georges Seurat, Paul Signac, Camille Pissarro and Maximilien Luce.

When you first walk into the exhibition, you are confronted by Georges Seurat’s wonderful The Seine at Courbevoie, which was one of my favourite paintings at the exhibition.

georges seurat_the seine at courbevoie
It is a pity Seurat’s most famous painting A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte was not included in the exhibition, but there was more than enough fine art to compensate for its absence.

For instance, the paintings of seaside town Saint Tropez by Maximilien Luce.

maximilien luce_the port at saint tropez

Paul Signac’s painting of Juan Les Pins...

paul signac_juan-les-pins

…and Saint Tropez

paul_signac_saint tropez

And moodier pictures like Maximilien Luce’s View of London (Cannon Bridge)

maximilien luce_view of london

What typified most of the paintings in the exhibition was the wonderful quality of light. The original paintings on the wall of the gallery positively glowed as brightly as the sun outside.  The illustrations above are scans of postcards I purchased at the gallery as is my usual practice. The scans look better than the postcards as a matter of fact.

And finally, just because I liked it, a photo of an extraordinary chair in the sculpture garden.


The Winter Exhibition will feature Monet’s Garden -  more Impressionism.

No comments: