Impressionists on Paper: Unveiling the Radical Works of Van Gogh, Degas, and Cézanne

A groundbreaking exhibition at London’s Royal Academy of Arts celebrates the lesser-known works on paper by renowned Impressionist artists, shedding light on their revolutionary contributions to the art world.

The Royal Academy of Arts in London is currently hosting a one-of-a-kind exhibition that showcases the radical works on paper by some of the world’s greatest artists, including Van Gogh, Degas, and Cézanne. While these artists are widely recognized for their iconic paintings, it is their lesser-known works on paper that take center stage in this ground-breaking show. By exploring how these artists elevated the status of artworks created on paper, the exhibition sheds light on a pivotal period in art history.

Redefining the Status of Works on Paper

Technological advancements during the late 19th century brought about significant changes in the art industry. With the availability of charcoals, chalks, and machine-produced paper, artists had new tools at their disposal. The exhibition’s curator, Ann Dumas, explains that during this period, works on paper took on a completely new status, separate from their traditional role as preparatory sketches for paintings. Artists began to recognize the value of creating drawings and works on paper that were complete and stood on their own.

A Delicate Showcase of Masterpieces

The exhibition features a remarkable collection of 77 works on paper, a rare opportunity to see these delicate pieces together in one place. Dumas notes that many of these works are by the great artists associated with the Impressionist and post-Impressionist movements, such as Renoir, Degas, Manet, Monet, Van Gogh, and Toulouse-Lautrec. These works are not typically on permanent display due to their vulnerability to light exposure. Therefore, this exhibition offers a unique chance to appreciate the intricacies of these masterpieces.

Unveiling Gems and Overlooked Artists

Among the highlights of the exhibition are Georges Seurat’s preparatory work for his renowned painting “Bathers at Asnières” and several iconic ballet dancer works by Edgar Degas, including “Dancers on a Bench.” Visitors will also have the opportunity to discover works by female Impressionist artists like Eva Gonzales, who have often been overshadowed by their male counterparts. The exhibition aims to present new insights into the Impressionist and post-Impressionist movements, showcasing the use of new materials and techniques that allowed artists to work en plein air, or outdoors, capturing the essence of their surroundings.

A New Perspective on Impressionism

Art critic Estelle Lovatt emphasizes the significance of this exhibition, as it reveals new aspects of the Impressionist and post-Impressionist movements. The of new materials, such as pastels, watercolors, and portable paper, enabled artists to venture outside their studios and paint directly from nature. This shift in approach not only influenced their artistic process but also contributed to the development and popularity of Impressionism. By exploring the works on paper, the exhibition offers a fresh perspective on these iconic artists and their contributions to art history.

Conclusion: The exhibition “Impressionists on Paper: Degas to Toulouse-Lautrec” at London’s Royal Academy of Arts provides a captivating glimpse into the radical and lesser-known works of renowned Impressionist artists. By showcasing these delicate and often overlooked pieces, the exhibition sheds light on a pivotal period in art history when artists redefined the status of works on paper. Through their innovative use of materials and techniques, these artists not only transformed the art industry but also captured the essence of the Impressionist and post-Impressionist movements. This exhibition is a must-see for art enthusiasts and offers a unique opportunity to appreciate the depth and breadth of these masterpieces.






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