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The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts - Montreal Quebec - 514 285 1600

Right Under the Sun:


(1750-1920) Works by Artists ranging from Hubert Robert to Monet, Cezanne, Van Gogh, Derain, and Braque illuminate impact of Provencal landscape on generations.

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The exhibition which proposes a new interpretation of painting in Provence from the end of the 18th to the early 20th centuries.

The exhibition will present more than 200 works by some 60 artists. It will trace the ways in whcih the Provencal landscape was portrayed by a series of artistic movements: Classicism, Naturalism, Impressionism, Post Impressionism, Fauvism, and Cubism.

The paintings by French artists will be complemented by Provencal landscapes by North American artists such as Thomas Cole and James Wilson Morrice, as well as drawings, photographs, postcards, touris guides, and posters.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a lavishly illustrated catalog featuring numerous essays. It is co-published by the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and Snoeck Publishers, of Ghent, Belgium.


Since time immemorial, poets, writers, and painters have celebrated the beauty of the Mediterranean coast, especially the brilliant light, mild climate, and diversity of landscapes in Provence. Avignon and Aix-en-Provence were major centers of artistic production during the Middle Ages and Renaissance, and Provence continued to be a hive of creative activity in the 16th and 17th centuries. Several 18th century artists, including Jean-Honore Fragonard, were born in this region. In the 19th century, Provence became popular with vacationers, and many major artists were drawn there by the light, leading to an explosion of talent and to encounters between creative masters. Right Under the Sun will offer a fresh look at the artistic impact of Provence's dazzling light and panoramic views, as well as at artist's fascination with the Mediterranean "Orient".


Right Under the Sun, which picks up the story of art in in Provence in the mid-18th century, will be organized in 3 sections: In a New Light (1750-1830), Before Impressionism--The Rise of the School of Marseille (1830-1880), and Post-Impressionism and the Fauves (1880-1920).


RIGHT UNDER THE SUN: Guy Cogeval, Marie-Paul Vial, Nicolas Cendo, Vincent Pomarede, and Benoit Coutancier.


In Provence during this period, the major trends in painting found expression in fantastic landscapes, Arcadian scenes, and the "Italian" vision of the area, as painters bathed both land and objects in a golden light. The exhibition will open with works by such artists as Jena-Soseph Xavier Bidault, Hubert Robert, and Vernet, whose spectacular views were dominated by the sky. Xavier Bidault, Jean-Antooine Constantin (a key figure in Provencal painting at the time), and Hubert Robert took their inspiration from the serene yet also wild and brooding nature of the region, the natural curiosities of which provided an extensive source of subject matter.


This section will reveal how a more realistic view of the landscape emerged among artists born in Provence. The light became morecrystalline, carving out shapes instead of softening them, and the elegiac view of the landscape gave way to greater interest in everyday activities, social life, and changes brought about by industrial developement. One of the contributions of these artists was the panoramic format that some of them, most notably Loubon--the figure around whome the School of Marseilles developed--employed. Loubon's predilection for landscape was shared by Paul Guigou, Marius Engalieres, and Auguste Aiguier, among others. Moreover, with the opening of the Suez Canal, in 1869, Marseille became known as the gateway to the so-called "Orient" -- including North Africa and the Near East -- inspiring a number of artists, among them Francois Barry, Fabius, Maurice Bompart, and Jules Laurens, to travel to that area.


At the end of the 19th century, painters from all over France flocked to Provence, where the clear light and the intensity of colors suggested different approaches from those of Impressionism. This section of the exhibition will be illustrated by the work of Braque, Cezanne, Derain, Dufy, Van Gogh, Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, and Signac. Inspired by the Provencal sun and seeking to capture the effects of light on nature; Renoir and Monet began painting together in Antibes in the late 1860s. Van Gogh spent the most productive and brilliant period of his short career in Arles, producing nearly 200 paintings and drawings. Cezanne, deeply devoted to his native Provence, developed a new vision of shape and opened up new horizons for an entire generation that followed in his path. The Fauves adopted stylized forms, finding patterns in the picturesque and in industrial reality that they interpreted in countless ways, some of which would develop into Cubism. Local Provencal artists such as Charles Camoin, Alfred Lombard, Pierre Girieud, August Chabaud, were actively involved in the Fauvist adventure.

On View: The exhibition runs from September 22, 2005 to January 8, 2006

Contact: Wanda Palma or Catherine Guex, Public Relations, 514 285 1600

Artists: Hubert Robert, Joseph Vernet, Emile Loubon, Claude Monet, Auguste Renoir, Paul Signac, Albert Marquet, Charles Camoin, Andre Derain, Raoul Dufy, and George Braque.

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