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French painters in Kansas City

The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, located in Kansas City, Missouri, houses one of the most important collections of works of art in the United States. In particular, more than 100 works by French artists from the period 1860 - 1925, Eugène Boudin, Claude Monet, Edouard Manet, or even Paul Cézanne, Camille Pissarro or Berthe Morisot.

Today, let us be guided in the snowy landscapes of Claude Monet and Alfred Sisley. Camille Pissarro takes us to rue Saint-Honoré while Léon Augustin Lhermitte gives us a magnificent painting in homage to spring...

Léon Augustin Lhermitte. Plants de pommes de terre au printemps. 1888. Nelson Atkins Museum of Art
Léon Augustin Lhermitte. Plantation de pommes de terre au printemps. 1888. Nelson Atkins Museum of Art

Realist artist, whose style nevertheless suffered the impressionist influence, admired by Edgar Degas (which was not an easy task), Léon Augustin Lhermitte (1844-1925) delivers here an oil pastel on paper, mounted on canvas whose characters are activated at the beginning of spring. A farmhouse, beehives in the background, a patch of brown earth surrounded by tall grass, and the simple gestures of soberly dressed peasants suggest a scene of country life in which toil is softened by new growth and flowering trees.

Camille Pissarro. Rue Saint-Honoré. Effet de soleil. 1898. Nelson Atkins Museum of Art
Camille Pissarro. Rue Saint-Honoré. Effet de soleil. 1898. Nelson Atkins Museum of Art

The perspective of this painting by Camille Pissarro (1830-1903) seen from above clears the view towards rue Saint-Honoré on the left and the junction of the avenue de l'Opéra, suggested on the right. The Paris of Baron Hausmann shines in the sun with its plush buildings and wide avenues. Fascinated by this new city, Camille Pissarro multiplied the Parisian series from 1890. Scenes of the boulevard Montmartre, paintings made around the Louvre, the Tuileries, multiple views of the Pont Neuf and the Seine followed one another under the brush of the artist, day and night.

Claude Monet. Neige à Argenteuil. 1875. Nelson Atkins Museum of Art
Claude Monet. Neige à Argenteuil. 1875. Nelson Atkins Museum of Art

Claude Monet (1840-1926) lived in Argenteuil for 7 years, from 1871 to 1878 with his wife Camille and their son Jean. During this happy and fruitful period, he painted his environment in all seasons. La neige à Argenteuil is an 1875 painting that takes the walker along a path bordered by a stone wall towards a row of small yellow buildings bathed in sunlight, framed by tall trees and punctuated by a bell tower. The winter sky manifests itself under the artist's palette in a uniform, matte tone. The snow, obviously melting, gives way on the right to a bank of grass where pastel ocher tones and shades of green mingle.

Alfred Sisley. Rive enneigée à Billancourt. 1879.Nelson Atkins Museum of Art
Alfred Sisley. Rive enneigée à Billancourt. 1879.Nelson Atkins Museum of Art

At the same time, Alfred Sisley (1839-1899) painted "Snowy Shore at Billancourt", on the banks of the Seine.

Installed in Sèvres between 1877 and 1879, the painter often crossed the eponymous bridge to paint the landscapes of Billancourt, of which there are no less than 13 canvases produced most of the time in spring or summer. Hence the interest of this landscape of snow, accentuated by the identical tone used for the river and the sky, separated by a line of trees and the crest of a hill in the background. The snow has a dominating place there, by the space occupied on the embankment on the left, at the edge of which Alfred Sisley represents two curious characters whose attitude is difficult to understand. They raise their arm symmetrically. Is it to greet the barges or because they abused the little wine served at "Père Lapin" or at the "Buvette de la Marine" near the Quai du Point-du-Jour?

The critic Théodore Duret wrote in 1906: "One can say of Sisley, as a characteristic trait, that he knew how to render nature in a laughing way. His work is seductive [...]. Sisley is a delicate person whom nature enchants..."


4525 Oak Street

Kansas City, MO 64111

Tél: +1 816-751-1278

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In his art history lectures, Fabrice Roy combines the past with the present, in a poetic and playful evocation of the French 19th century...



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