Monday, March 15, 2010

Lens of Impressionism at Dallas Museum of Art

With about 90 works including vintage prints, pastels, maps, and paintings, its easy to get lost in Europe art.

Dallas Museum of Art Gustave Courbet, “The Sea-Arch at Étretat” 1869

Gustave Courbet, “The 
Sea-Arch at Étretat” 1869 — I got a chance to visit the Lens of Impressionism exhibit at the Dallas Museum of Art this weekend and loved it. The exhibit explores impressionist painting’s response to early photography in the mid to late 1800s on the coast of Normandy. With about 90 works including vintage prints, pastels, maps, and paintings, it’s easy to get lost in the European art. Here are some of my personal favorite artists and pieces from the exhibit:
Eugène Boudin, “Bathing Time at Deauville” 1865 -- This oil painting is an example of the time in which it was painted. Women on the beach in full clothes and men wearing suits is much different from what you would find on any coast today. Boudin was one of the few artists who insisted on painting in the open air and painted directly from nature. He taught Claude Monet the importance of painting outside and Monet said that when Boudin painted this scene, suddenly a veil was torn from his eyes and his destiny as a painter opened up.
Gustave Courbet, “The Sea-Arch at Étretat” 1869 -- With this beautiful painting of the limestone cliffs off the coast of Normandy, the Étretat seems to be a peaceful destination. The texture of the painting gives you a sense of the eroded sea arch in the distance, as well as the rugged shore. This beach was a popular tourist attraction in the 1800s.
Claude Monet, “The Sea at the Havre” 1868 -- Pure white and mixed blues control this painting by Monet that illustrates the smooth turning of water. After experimenting with working outdoors, Monet learned that there was importance in the first immediate impression of a subject.
Gustave Le Gray, “The Brig Upon the Water” 1856 -- Photography was still in its early stages when Le Gray snapped this overexposed photo of the sea. For the first time, a photographer had captured the sky and the sea together over a negative print. It became a sensation and journalists of the time raved over the style that arrested movement and captured light. The natural blurring was properly balanced to evoke a particular mood. This photo left a lasting effect on impression painting.
Henri Le Secq, “Dieppe, Fishing Boats at Low Tide” 1854 -- The photo, along with its original paper negative, stands out among the others. The contrast between the negative and the modern salted print is amazing.
The exhibit also has an interactive audio tour to learn more about the art on display. And now for first time, you can use any smartphone to listen in on the smARTphone tour of the exhibit. The Lens of Impressionism continues until March 23. Click here to get tickets.

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