From Monet to Soulages : Paths of Modern Western Painting (1800-1980)

From Monet to Soulages : Paths of Modern Western Painting (1800-1980)

Picture : The exhibition at Chengdu Museum

Collection of the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art of Saint-Étienne Métropole 


With some of the most beautiful paintings in the MAMC collection, this exhibition brings to life the revolutions that have marked the history of painting in France since the 1800s. The great landscape artists of the 19th century people this exhibition: from the abstract canvasses of Soulages to Monet, Courbet, Matisse, Picasso and Dubuffet.

This display of masterpieces taken from the MAMC+ collections will introduce the Chinese audience to the revolutions that have marked the history of painting in France since the 1800s. The exhibition will lead visitors along the "Paths of Modernity", from realism to the most contemporary style of painting, through impressionism, symbolism, cubism, surrealism and abstract art.
This exhibition will be shown first at Tsinghua University’s Art Museum in Beijing, followed by Chengdu Municipal Museum and Wuhan Art Museum.   


Claude MONET, Water Lilies, 1907, oil on canvas, 80.7 cm © Collection of the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art of Saint-Etienne

With the Water Lilies, Monet, founder of Impressionism, left his mark on 20th century painting. From the allusive depiction of light in Impression, Sunrise (1872, Musée Marmottan, Paris), which opened a series of impressionist exhibitions (from 1874 to 1886) to the large decorative panels of the Water Lilies at the Orangerie in the Tuileries, the painter drives the landscape from its realistic tradition towards a decorative abstraction. The motif of Water Lilies observed from the lake on his estate appears in his work as early as 1893 and leads the artist to explode representations of space in a decorative treatment of the surface, resulting in what he called a water landscape. 


Pablo PICASSO (1881-1973), Still life with pot, glass and oranges, 23/07/1944, oil on canvas, 33 x 41 cm © Succession Picasso 2017

The work drawn by Picasso shows an insatiable need for contradictory experiences that accompany the continuous renewal of his pictorial practice. As in his painting, the graphic processes that he uses once are immediately questioned in favour of new solutions. In Still Life: pot, glass and orange, the lines are thick and strong. They simply cut the subject into the shape of the rectangular canvas.


César DOMELA, Neoplastic Composition No. 5-1, 1926, oil on canvas, 80.5 x 50.7 cm, framed : 83 x 53.2 x 2 cm © César Domela / ADAGP, Paris - SACK, Seoul, 2017

From 1924, Domela was a strict observer of De Stijl movement, producing work according to the general principles of neo-plasticism. The economy of the image, the use of the rectangular plane and the opposition of straight lines are apparent in his work, as shown by the geometrical abstraction of his landscapes and even more radical non-figurative work created in 1923. As early as 1925 he nevertheless shook up neo-plasticism as attested by the neoplastic Composition No. 5-1. It uses in particular the oblique and does not respect the distribution of colors and non-colors, and as a result creates a certain depth.


Yves TANGUY (1900-1955), Hands and Gloves, 1946 © 2017 Estate of Yves Tanguy / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

The vast space that unfolds before us is characteristic of Tanguy's paintings in which the horizon, sometimes marked by a line dividing the canvas, merges entirely with the background. Hands and gloves constitutes a kind of median way in which the sky misleads without absorbing our eyes in an aerial landscape that differs from the oceanic backgrounds of earlier paintings. The organic forms of the 1930s, juxtaposed horizontally like scattered and occasionally volatile objects, reveal a kind of substance, due to the sharp and slender forms that stand in the foreground in the manner of ruined architectural monuments. The shadow cast by Tanguy since 1926 which he systematically used from 1931-1932 has a role here, as in many of his paintings, an essential structuring role. It causes a shift in the gaze, leading it deeper into the landscape towards a point external to itself, towards a place beyond the painting in the imagination, an ability that a surrealist painter such as Tanguy constantly experimented with so as to express the real functioning of thought.




Tsinghua university Art Museum

NO. 1, Tsinghua University Campus

Haidian district, Beijing, Beijing


Phone : 010-62781012


27.09.2017 - 15.12.2017


Chengdu Museum

Opening hours : Monday to Sunday 9:00-20:30

1 Xiaohe Jie

Qingyang district, Chengdu, Sichuan


Phone : 028-62915593


27.12.2017 - 29.04.2018


Wuhan Art Museum

Nanjing Lu Zhongshandadao

Jiang'an district, Wuhan, Hubei







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