French Impressionists seeking refuge in Britain at the end of the 19th century are the subject of this large-scale exhibition.
Telling the story of artists including Claude Monet, James Tissot and Camille Pissarro, Impressionists in London looks at many of those who left France in the 1870s during the Franco-Prussian war and took up residency in London.
It considers not only the influence that London had on the aesthetics of their work but also what they brought to the city, and contributed to the British art scene more widely – both at the time and since. While some remained in Britain, others returned to France but made visits.
With more than 100 works on display, audiences can gain a new depth of insight into the friendships these artists forged, the patrons and dealers who represented them, and how they perceived British culture, traditions and social life. Significant relationships under the microscope include that of Monet and his mentor Charles-François Daubigny, and the role that art dealer Paul Durand-Ruel played in supporting Monet and Pissarro, purchasing more than 5000 Impressionist works over his lifetime.
A prominent section of the exhibition is dedicated to representations of the Thames, featuring the largest grouping of Monet's Houses of Parliament series in Europe for more than 40 years and examining how depictions of London and its watery artery became a key theme in French art. A number of André Derain’s paintings of London landmarks, which answer directly to Monet’s, demonstrate the continuity of this motif in art history.