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The Impressionists and Paris...

The Impressionists and Paris is the most recent of my lectures which I had the pleasure of delivering for the first time to the Société des Lettres et des Arts des Alpes Maritimes last June.

In 1852, the Emperor Napoleon III installed a strong Alsatian, Haussmann, in the prefecture of the Seine. The capital lacks everything: covered markets, halls, town halls, cemeteries, fountains. Masons from Limousin, Auvergne and Savoie are snapped up.

It is this Paris in full upheaval that has presented itself to the eyes of our painter friends who have made it both the stage and the setting of their lives and their art.

Camille Pissarro. Boulevard Montmartre de nuit. 1898. National Portrait Gallery
Camille Pissarro. Boulevard Montmartre de nuit. 1898. National Portrait Gallery

Camille Pissarro made the boulevards one of his favorite motifs in 1897 and 1898, in all seasons, at all hours of the day and night. For the night effect, streetlights have taken their function. This is the only night scene in the series. Pissarro neither signed nor exhibited it during his lifetime.

Claude Monet. Le Boulevard des Capucines. 1873. Musée de Beaux Arts Pouchkine.
Claude Monet. Le Boulevard des Capucines. 1873. Musée de Beaux Arts Pouchkine.

The boulevards also inspired Claude Monet. Thus this bird's eye view of the Boulevard des Capucines, painted in 1873. Monet was then living in Argenteuil with his wife Camille and their son Jean. This painting was painted from the balcony of the studio of photographer Félix Tournachon, known as Nadar, at 35 rue des Capucines,

Maximilien Luce. La rue des Abbesses. 1898 . Collection privée
Maximilien Luce. La rue des Abbesses. 1898 . Collection privée

In the Montmartre district, in 1895, Maximilien Luce painted the rue des Abbesses with the little people of Paris doing their shopping in an abundance of bold colors.

Paul Cézanne. Les toits de Paris. 1882. Collection particulière
Paul Cézanne. Les toits de Paris. 1882. Collection particulière

In 1880, Paul Cézanne painted the roofs of Paris from the apartment he occupied on the fifth floor of a building in the Montparnasse district.

Gustave Caillebotte. Toits, effets de neige. 1878. © RMN-Grand Palais (Musée d’Orsay) / Franck Raux
Gustave Caillebotte. Toits, effets de neige. 1878. © RMN-Grand Palais (Musée d’Orsay) / Franck Raux

When Gustave Caillebotte painted his "roofs, snow effect", he had just lost his mother Celeste. We are in 1878. His father died in 1874 and his brother René in 1876. He found himself alone, with his brother Martial. Their half-brother Alfred had taken orders.

Jean Béraud. Modiste sur les Champs-Élysées. 1885. Collection privée
Jean Béraud. Modiste sur les Champs-Élysées. 1885. Collection privée

The Tuileries and the Champs-Élysées are also Paris, capital of fashion and its elegant women painted by Jean Béraud who walk there in all weathers.


Paris, multiple city, scoundrel, plural, how not to love it?


The rest is to be discovered in the conference "The Impressionists and Paris"


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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