Capturing colour and light

Colours of Impressionism: Masterpieces from the Musee D’Orsay at the Art Gallery of South Australia features an outstanding selection of 65 Impressionist works curated to trace the use of light and development of  colour. The big names are there – Claude Monet, Camille Pissarro, Edgar Degas, Edouard Manet, August Renoir and Paul Cezanne and other well known artists of the time.  What is so appealing about this exhibition is that the works are grouped in separate rooms examining the various use of colour and light allowing us gain an insight into the techniques and ideas the artists explored.

Art Gallery of South Australia excellent exhibition rooms Photograph: GRACIE

As with major exhibitions of this kind, there are one or two major works.  We were especially drawn to Monet’s The Magpie’ (1868-69).  The glow of the sun on the snow filled landscape is really hypnotic.

Claude Monet (1840-1926) ‘The magpie’ 1868-69 Purchased by the French state, 1984 Musee d’Orsay, Paris, France. Photo: GRACIE

The selection Renoir’s portraits won’t disappoint.  Auguste Renoir’s  ‘Madame Darras’ c1868 and his later work Gabrielle with the rose’ 1911, demonstrate the experimental use of colour over time.

Auguste Renoir, France, 1841-1919 ‘Madame Darras’ c1868 Bequest of Baroness Eva Gebhard-Gourgaud 1965 Collection of Musee D’Orsay, Paris France Photograph: GRACIE


Auguste Renoir, France, 1841-1919 ‘Gabrielle with the rose’ 1911. Oil on canvas 81.2×71.2cm D’Orsay Museum, Paris, France c Photo Musee d’Orsay/mnn.

A French Impressionists’ exhibition wouldn’t be complete without one of Monet’s water lily paintings and the inclusion of this work does the task.

Claude Monet, The Water Lilies Pond, pink harmony, 1900, oil on canvas, 90 x 100cm, Musée d’Orsay, Paris, France, © photo Musée d’Orsay / rmn

A fascinating personal addition to the exhibition is the inclusion of these two palettes used by Edgar Degas and a paint box and palette used by Auguste Renoir.

Two palettes used by Edgar Degas Photograph: GRACIE

Oil paints were made available in metallic tubes in the 1840s.  This made is easier for artists to carry their tools and to paint outdoors.

Paint box and palette used by Auguste Renoir Photograph: GRACIE

This exhibition really has it all and the Gallery’s well lit rooms provide excellent viewing.   If you can get there, be assured you won’t be disappointed.

Art Gallery of South Australia Photograph: GRACIE

29 March-29 July 2018
Ticketed | Buy online now