French painting in the second half of the nineteenth century represents a crossroads in the history of art. This was a period of change and experimentation, even revolution. For many painters, the tradition of the “Grand Manner”, inherited from the Old Masters and sanctioned by the Académie des Beaux-Arts, or Academy of Fine Art, and its official Salon exhibitions, remained the highest calling for art. Others rejected the techniques and subjects of past art and sought to define a new painting based on nature and dedicated to representing the rich variations of the modern world. The most outstanding artists in this revolutionary movement were, without doubt, the Impressionists, and Paris was the centre of this extraordinary period, which ushered in the history of modern art. The exhibition Impressionists.
French Masters from the Clark Collection features a selection of masterpieces from the late 19th and early 20th century that represent the entire range of styles and tendencies found in that dynamic period: from naturalist landscapes by artists in the Barbizon School to a range of exceptional paintings by the most outstanding artists of the time: Manet, Monet, Pissarro, Sisley, Degas, Morisot and, above all, Renoir. The show reflects the personal tastes of Sterling and Francine Clark who, over five decades, built up one of the most important collections of Impressionist painting in the world. CaixaForum Barcelona is the only stop in Spain on an international tour organised by the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute to bring these great masterpieces to audiences around the world, an initiative that coincides with the extension of the US gallery.
The exhibition Impressionists. French Masters from the Clark Collection is organised by the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, produced by ”la Caixa” Foundation and curated by Richard Rand, senior curator at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute. The show will be open to the public at CaixaForum Barcelona (Av. de Francesc Ferrer i Guàrdia, 6-8) from 17 November 2011 to 12 February 2012.