I told you before…November was “Museum month” for me and after presenting you a bit of the Harvard Art Museums, today is time to show you an exhibition that I found very interesting in Montreal’s Museum of Fine Arts. I’ve visited many museums during my travels: The Louvre, Musee d’ Orsay, Tate Modern, New York’s Metropolitan Museum, MoMa, Chicago Art Institute and many more. So I can say that I have had my fair share of art from all times from antiquity until today. I came to appreciate 20th century’s art more, after taking an history of art class in fashion design school and I came to appreciate more the politics behind art and its movements. And that’s why I found this exhibition interesting.
This exhibition comes with two taglines: the one that reads “Impressionism to Expressionism” and the second one “France – Germany”. The visitor is guided through the art movements that succeeded Impressionism in the early 20th century: French Modern Art, Fauvism and Cubism, as well as major painters associated with these movements: Paul Gaugin, Henri Matisse, Vincent Van Gogh, George Braques, Pablo Picasso. Paris, of course, was THE place to be for artists at the time. In 1900 it was also the city which hosted the “Exposition Universelle” which translated to more visitors flocking in the city “to witness not only the latest styles but to absorb the vast cultural treasures of the past” (text from the exhibition)
Paris’ bohemian lifestyle was in contrast to that of Germany’s under Emperor Wilhelm II which led many German art dealers to move to Paris. Private collectors in Germany collected and exhibited French avant-garde art avidly. In that way French art (and its influence) entered Germany and inspired German artists. For example Fauvism emerged in Paris in 1905. The same year the group Die Bruecke (the Bridge) was formed in Dresden. Both groups (Fauves and Die Bruecke) “shared the same goal of wanting to grasp the world in a subjective way with a previously unknown freedom with respect to reality” (text from the exhibition).
The exhibition has many supportive texts up on the walls that give a better understanding of the complex cross-cultural influences during the first decade of the 20th century. Believe me, it is a rarity for me to read the text that accompanies the exhibitions, but this time I found the story more important that the art itself. The exhibition ends with a run through of what happened during the first World War which started in 1914. That would be exactly 100 years ago. The exhibition runs until January 25th, so if you happen to be in Montreal till then, it’s worthy to pay it a visit!