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"A Revolution in Painting: Barbizon to Impressionism" opens at Franklin Bowles Galleries
Francois Millet, Les glaneuses, oil on canvas, 31.5 x 45 in. Photo: Courtesy Franklin Bowles Galleries.

SAN FRANCISCO, CA.- Franklin Bowles Galleries announces the opening of a new collection of works “A Revolution in Painting: Barbizon to Impressionism.” Dr. Jean Audigier takes built a collection that explores the evolution of painting from the Barbizon period through Impressionism.

In the Woody Allen movie, Midnight in Paris, we are transported to Paris at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th where we meet Lautrec, Degas, Gauguin, and Picasso. In the catalog that accompanies this exhibition, Dr. Jean Audigier will take you back to an earlier part of the 19th century when the school of Barbizon painters and their contemporaries started the revolution which led to the creation of Impressionism. Here you’ll meet Millet, Diaz, Dupré, and Bonheur.

In the 19th century, Paris was a magical place which attracted artists from all over France, Europe and the world like a giant magnet. They came to Paris because that was the place to see art, create art and exhibit art. They came, in the words of Kathleen Adler in the exhibition catalog Americans in Paris, “for the excitement and stimulus of the greatest city of the age-‘the capital of the 19th century’ as Walter Benjamin declared it in the twentieth.”

The Parisians were fascinated with art. The Academy, the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, and the Salons were the official bastions of academic art. The rebel forces constantly tried to overcome its defenses: first the Romantics, then the school of Barbizon artists, and then the Impressionists.

After fierce struggles, many of the artists we are showing in this catalog were exhibited in the official salons and the universal exhibitions. They received awards: bronze, silver, gold medals and the Legion of Honor. These award ceremonies were followed by a passionate public with even more interest and intensity than the Academy Awards and the Super bowl combined.

During this period, one can’t help but be struck by the amazing interaction between many of the artists. Creating art, defying the Academy, and inventing new pictorial languages were not solitary delights, but a corporative venture. Together they forged ahead toward uncharted territories. A wall chart showing the connections between the school of Barbizon painters, and the Impressionists, would look like a very complex maze with many intersecting lines. Even the more academic painters, and we have a few of their works in this exhibition, were part of the explosion of creative activities that dominated in the 19th century.

This is a beautiful exhibition covering a wide range of the best of European art of the 19th century and we hope you can come in to the gallery during October to see the show.

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