Impressionism often brings to mind pastoral landscapes and scenes of the leisure class enjoying their picnics and boating excursions. But this exhibition shows the grittier side of Impressionism. The late 19th century was an age of rapid industrialization. The railroad and its iron bridges not only transformed the landscape but also changed the way people lived. Artists seized this moment of radical change, turning painting on its head.
The exhibition is loosely grouped into themes: the railroad, the busy ports, factories, labourers, etc.
|Camille Pissarro, Le Pont Boeuildieu å Rouen, temps mouillé, 1896.|
Pissarro often painted from an elevated viewpoint.
He would typically rent a hotel room that offered him this perspective
and paint the view from his window.
|Camille Pissarro, Poplars, Grey Weather, Éragny, 1895|
|Edgar Degas, Woman Ironing, c. 1976-1887|
Skill and punishing labour were required to produce a freshly-laundered
white shirt, the de rigueur costume of a gentleman.
Many of the artists in the show are the well-known names that one would expect to see, but others were new to me. And while it's the paintings that drew my eye, there are a number of prints, photographs and film clips worth a second look.
Also from the review in the Globe and Mail,
"AGO curator Caroline Shields, [is] a new hire who pitched this show to the gallery in her job interview, ... then got it open in a mere 14 months."
The exhibition continues until May 5, 2019.