Impressionists in London – Petit Palais (Until 14 October)

The Petit Palais is presenting an original exhibition devoted to the many French artists who took refuge in London following the Franco-Prussian War of 1870 and the uprising of the Commune. The exhibition plunges the visitor into this troubled period, whose impact on many artists is not widely known. In spite of their social and political differences and their diverse artistic sensibilities, many of them
found themselves on the British side of the Channel, where they formed a community of exiles.

Camille Pissarro, Kew Green, 1892, huile sur toile, Musée d’Orsay, Paris, en dépôt au musée des Beaux-Arts de Lyon, legs de Clément et Andrée Adès, 1979 © Lyon, MBA – Photo Alain Basset

Organised in conjunction with the Tate, the exhibition presents 140 works borrowed from museums in Britain, including Tate Britain, the Victoria & Albert Museum, and the National Gallery; the United States, including the Brooklyn Museum, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; and also from French museums such as the Musée d’Orsay.

Works by Monet, Pissarro, Sisley, and also by Tissot and Legros, as well as sculptures by Carpeaux, Rodin and Dalou, are contrasted, at specific moments in the exhibition, with works by British artists such as Alma-Tadema and Watts as a means of evoking the networks of solidarity that evolved at that time between French and British artists.

Review : The exhibition is very clear and easy to understand as it follows a chronological path, which really helps you understand what led the French artists to settle in London. One of the main reasons was the Franco-Prussian war, but we also learn that the art market in London at the time was very lucrative – another great motivation for artists. Claude Monet was among the first ones to go to London and an obvious highlight of the exhibition is a room dedicated to his wonderful fascination for River Thames. However it’s very interesting to find out that his first time in London was not so successful with a lack of commercial success but he went back a few years later as a far more successful artist and painted from the beautiful Savoy Hotel, ideally located on the Strand. One of my favorite paintings was the one of Leicester Square by Monet that I had never seen before and is a perfect representation of central London, full of life and colors. Another highlight is learning about the French painter Alphone Legros who was already established in London before the war and how he became a crucial resource for his fellow French refugees. Generously, Legros shared with them his extensive British network! We find out a lot of unknown stories and facts which is extremely captivating. The main power of this exhibition though is to remind us all that there has always been great bond between France and England.
You only have a few weeks left to see the exhibition – it is until 14 October! Avoid the weekend if you can as it’s very busy. Don’t forget to see the permanent collection in Le Petit Palais and relax in the café, located in a beautiful garden. A little gem!

Practical Information : 

Musée des Beaux-Arts de la Ville de Paris
Avenue Winston Churchill – 75008 Paris
Tel: + 33 1 53 43 40 00

Tuesday to Sunday 10:00 am to 6:00 pm
Closed on Mondays and July 14
Late opening Friday until 9:00 pm.
From 14 September until 14 October, exceptionnally
open until 9pm on Fridays and until 8pm on Saturdays
and Sundays (except Sunday 7 October)

Free entry to the permanent collections
Charges for temporary exhibitions:
Full price: 13 euros
Reduced price: 11 euros

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