Art from a time of radical change in Paris soon on show

February 21, 2024 BY

A NEW exhibition showcasing artwork from a Parisian museum’s collection will be coming to town soon.

Paris: Impressions of Life 1880-1925 will feature 170 pieces from the Musée Carnavalet from France’s Belle Époque, or ‘beautiful era’.

Curators from the French museum worked with Bendigo Art Gallery to design the exhibition to suit the local context.

Bendigo curator Clare Needham said the art is of impressionist or post-impressionist styles which became popular during the era.

The styles were contemporary with a growing interest in photography, which Ms Needham said likely inspired the shift in artists’ focus from the decadent lives of the wealthy to the grittier realities of most.

“They’re very expressive, they’re very vibrant, and really interestingly,” said Ms Needham. “They are of scenes of everyday life.

“This is a real radical shift in the art world of that time. Impressionism these days feels so celebrated, whereas at the time it was quite ridiculed. It has really come to define that era.”

Ms Needham said the art pieces will be set up along seven themed paths representing iconic places in Paris.

“The way that you would navigate through the exhibition is thinking about different aspects of the city, different places throughout the city, that were really influential in that very dynamic period of 1880 to 1925,” she said.

“The seven pathways through will take you to Parisian public gardens, to the markets and shopping districts, to the Champs-Élysées, to the Seine, to the very exciting, heady, Bohemian Montmartre, and also to the Eiffel Tower.

“So, it’s I guess designed a little bit like a promenade through Paris.

“Like if you were a tourist travelling through Paris, we’d take you to these really key spots to really explore this changing city at that time and the lifestyles of its inhabitants.”

Featured alongside the Parisian items, Ms Needham said there will be 25 garments from the same period from the National Gallery of Australia and the National Gallery of Victoria

Paris: Impressions of Life 1880-1925 will be on from 16 March to 14 July at Bendigo Art Gallery.