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Impressionism and modernity...

Impressionism and Modernity is one of the lectures I am most often asked for.

The industrial take-off, which began during the reign of Louis Philippe, saw its rise become exponential during the second empire, supported by the creation of investment banks, the crucible of conquering capitalism.

All the Impressionists, their immediate precursors, those who claim to belong to the movement, without exception, were born right in this effervescence. And what a gallery!

Pissarro, Manet, Degas, between 1830 and 1834.

Cézanne, Sisley, Monet, Marie Bracquemont, Renoir, Maire Cassatt, Bazille, Berthe Morisot, Armand Guillaumin between 1839 and 1844.

Caillebotte, Seurat, Signac between 1848 and 1865.

Gustave Caillebotte. Fabriques à Argenteuil. 1888. Collection privée
Gustave Caillebotte. Fabriques à Argenteuil. 1888. Collection privée

Throughout this crossing of the century, the Impressionists painted not only the factories, the bridges, the steamers, but also the causes and social consequences of this upheaval.

Claude Monet. Le pont de chemin de fer à Argenteuil. 1873. Collection particulière
Claude Monet. Le pont de chemin de fer à Argenteuil. 1873. Collection particulière

Even when Monet painted the island of La Grande Jatte in 1874, the factory chimneys, which he could have voluntarily ignored, punctuate the horizon, as if to remind us that progress is on the way, to the point of soiling with their smoked the country atmosphere of the banks of the Seine.

Claude Monet. L'ile de la Grande Jatte. 1874. Collection privée
Claude Monet. L'ile de la Grande Jatte. 1874. Collection privée

The rapidity of industrial progress created this proletariat whose untenable working conditions and insufficient remuneration created social tensions, bloodily repressed strikes, popular uprisings which were practically ignored by the painters of the time.

Henri Gervex. Le coltineur de charbon. 1882. Palais des Beaux-Arts de Lille.
Henri Gervex. Le coltineur de charbon. 1882. Palais des Beaux-Arts de Lille.

To see the worker, the proletarian in all his condition, we must turn to Gervex who offers us a strikingly realistic coltineur, painted in 1882...


The rest is to be discovered in the conference "Impressionism and modernity"


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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