Impressionist France Visions of Nation from Le Gray to Monet Simon Kelly, April M. Watson, Neil McWilliam, Maura Coughlin, Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

Publication date:
15 Oct 2013
Other Distribution
312 pages: 279 x 241mm
359 color illus.
Sales territories:

A novel look at the relationship between Impressionist painting and photography and the forging of a national identity in France between 1850 and 1880

Between 1850 and 1880, Impressionist landscape painting and early forms of photography flourished within the arts in France. In the context of massive social and political change that also marked this era, painters and photographers composed competing visions of France as modern and industrialized or as rural and anti-modern. Impressionist France explores the resonances between landscape art and national identity as reflected in the paintings and photographs made during this period, examining and illustrating in particular the works of key artists such as Édouard Baldus, Gustave Le Gray, the Bisson Frères, Édouard Manet, Jean-François Millet, Claude Monet, Charles Nègre, and Camille Pissarro. This ambitious premise focuses on the whole of France, exploring the relationship between landscape art and the notion of French nationhood across the country’s varied and spectacular landscapes in seven geographical sections and four scholarly essays, which provide new information regarding the production and impact of French Impressionism.

Simon Kelly is curator of modern and contemporary art at the Saint Louis Art Museum. April M. Watson is associate curator, photography, at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.

‘This beautifully produced volume is an excellent corpus of more academic landscape paintings (as well as photographs) from American collections that give a context to the achievements of Impressionism.’—Adrian Lewis, Cassone