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New exhibition sheds new light on the rarely shown collection of the Fondation de l'Hermitage
Alfred Sisley, La Seine à Saint-Cloud, 1879. Huile sur toile, 50 x 65 cm. Lausanne, Fondation de l'Hermitage, legs d'Antonia Chavan, 1979 © photo Primula Bosshard, Fribourg.

LAUSANNE.- With over a hundred works, Au fil des collections, from Tiepolo to Degas sheds new light on the rarely shown collection of the Fondation de l'Hermitage. Focusing on the museum’s masterpieces (including Tiepolo, Bocion, Sisley, Degas, Vuillard, Vallotton, Valadon, Braque and Magritte), the exhibition brings these works face to face, in an innovative dialogue, with other gems from public and private Swiss collections, often being exhibited for the first time.

The display begins with a room devoted to the Tiepolo family, whose members were among the greatest artists of 18th-century Venice. The drawings kept at the Hermitage are brought together with pieces from other collections to highlight the graphic genius of this famous family of creators. The work of François Bocion, one of the major artists in the collection of the Fondation, is evoked through a rich selection of views of Venice as well as of outings on Lake Geneva. Amongst his favourite subjects, the theme of boat trip is developed in a salon of the Hermitage, through a ‘panoramic’ hanging of paintings which take the visitor across the water from Chillon Castle to Lausanne. Bequeathed in 1998, Les Danseuses by Edgar Degas is another chef-d’œuvre of the Hermitage. Surrounding this splendid pastel, a selection of the artist’s works continues the ballet theme and reveals how modern his compositions were. Naturally, Impressionism is given special focus at the heart of the exhibition. The museum has been intimately linked with this innovative movement since its inaugural exhibition in 1984, L'impressionnisme dans les collections romandes ; a vibrant landscape by Alfred Sisley was, in fact, the first work to join the collection. Particularly reflective of impressionist models and atmosphere, the remarkable 19th-century residence of the Hermitage offers a perfect setting to a series of paintings by the great masters of this period such as Gustave Caillebotte and Henri Fantin-Latour. Associated with the Nabi movement, Félix Vallotton pursued an original, personal approach. He was a close friend of Edouard Vuillard and they often painted together, especially at Romanel-sur-Lausanne where both stayed in 1900. Paintings by the two artists are displayed side-by-side in the exhibition, along with an ensemble of landscapes with paths by Vallotton, who frequently explored this theme in his later work.

Paintings by Vaudois artists active during the early decades of the 20th century, ranging from René Auberjonois to Louis Soutter, are brought together in the museum’s loft area and bear witness to the new trends emerging in Swiss art during that pivotal period. A further section of the exhibition is devoted to René Magritte with a body of his drawings, gouaches and oils, displayed around his correspondence with the poet Gui Rosey, whose archives were acquired by the Fondation in 1989. The exhibition concludes with a wonderful ensemble donated to the Hermitage in 2007, consisting of paintings by Suzanne Valadon, which are remarkable for their strong and simple compositions enhanced by vibrant colours. As the finishing touch, a series of views from the Signal and the Hermitage estate recalls their long tradition as a favourite place of artists, such as Camille Corot.

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