Video: Birth of Impressionism

In anticipation of the de Young’s “Birth of Impressionism: Masterpieces from the Musee d’Orsay,” which debuts on May 22, 2010, ABC 7 News has produced a fantastic, 46 minute program about the exhibition and the artists who will be featured. ABC’s Spencer Christian went to Paris to interview key players, and did a really first-rate job. It’s rare that such in-depth art coverage makes it to mainstream television. Bravo to ABC, Spencer Christian and of course the Fine Arts Museum for making this all happen!

The de Young is proud to be the only museum in the world to present two consecutive special exhibitions from the Musee d’Orsay in Paris. The first exhibition, Birth of Impressionism: Masterpieces from the Musee d’Orsay, debuts at the de Young on May 22 and runs through September 6, 2010.

Birth of Impressionism: Masterpieces from the Musee d’Orsay presents nearly 100 magnificent works by the famous masters who called France their home during the mid- to late-19th century and from whose midst arose one of the most original and recognizable of all artistic styles, Impressionism. The exhibition begins with paintings by the great academic artist Bouguereau and the arch-Realist Courbet, and includes American expatriate Whistler’s Arrangement in Gray and Black, known to many as “Whistler’s Mother.” Manet, Monet, Renoir, and Sisley are showcased with works dating from the 1860s through 1880s, along with a selection of Degas’ paintings that depict images of the ballet, the racetrack, and life in the Belle Époque.

Notable works in this exhibition include:

The Fife Player by Edouard Manet (1866)
Racehorses Before the Stands by Edgar Degas (1866–1868)
Family Reunion by Frederic Bazille (1867)
The Magpie by Claude Monet (1868)
The Cradle by Berthe Morisot (1872)
The Dancing Lesson by Edgar Degas (1873–1876)
The Floor Scrapers by Gustave Caillebotte (1875)
The Swing by Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1876)
Red Roofs, Corner of the Village, Winter Effect by Camille Pissarro (1877)
Saint-Lazare Station by Claude Monet (1877)
Rue Montorgueil, Paris. Festival of June 30, 1878 by Claude Monet (1878)
Snow at Louveciennes by Alfred Sisley (1878)
L’Estaque by Paul Cezanne (1878–1879)
Portraits at the Stock Exchange by Edgar Degas (1878–1879)
The Birth of Venus by William-Adolphe Bouguereau (1879)

During this time also visit the Legion of Honor to see a special exhibition that provides context and heightens the understanding of Birth of Impressionism. Impressionist Paris: City of Light, on view from June 5 to September 26, 2010, transports museum visitors to Paris circa 1874 as represented in over 150 prints, drawings, photographs, paintings, and illustrated books from the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco and several private collectors.