From: de Young Museum Limited Edition: 10 Exhibition: Birth of Impressionism: Masterpieces from the Musée d’Orsay Material: Printed 2-ply vinyl Dimensions: 35" x 72" (88.9cm x 182.88cm)
Hanging Hardware Included
During his life, Edgar Degas rejected his role in Impressionism, saying “no art was ever less spontaneous than mine.” He was no doubt referring to his deep respect for the old masters which he copied well into middle age. But his Parisian scenes, dancers and horses, off-center viewpoints, vivid colors and broad brushstrokes, and friendship with Édouard Manet and Mary Cassatt, inextricably link him to the movement. Degas also quickly embraced the new technique of photography, which he used to freeze time, so that he might capture the moment with brush and paint.
This exhibition represented a unique opportunity for museum visitors to see some of the most important works of Impressionism normally only available in Paris. Close to 100 paintings borrowed from the Musée d’Orsay’s permanent collection comprised the exhibition, Birth of Impressionism: Masterpieces from the Musée d’Orsay Many avant-garde Impressionists of the mid- to late 19th century were featured, including the works of William-Adolphe Bouguereau, Gustave Courbet, Edgar Degas, Édouard Manet, Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Alfred Sisley, and James Abbott McNeill Whistler.
Impressionism was born in France during the turbulent time of the Franco-Prussian War (1870) marking the end of the French Second Empire and Napoleon III. Artistically and socially, times were complicated too. Artistic rivalries developed between those selected to exhibit at the state-run Salon de Paris, which followed the prescribed standards of the Académie des Beaux-Arts, and those core Impressionists who often weren’t accepted by the Salon’s jury. Impressionism extended through the Belle Époque, a period of political stability between the end of the Franco-Prussian war and the beginning of World War I. The ‘beautiful era’ was characterized by optimism and advancements in technology and medicine.
The de Young Museum promoted the exhibition with three street banners featuring paintings by Claude Monet, Édouard Manet, and Edgar Degas. Degas’ The Dancing Lesson (1873-76) appears (in detail) on the front side of the banner. Like other Impressionists, Degas sought to capture movement in contemporary life, which he did both at the race course and the Paris Opera. He sketched hundreds of dancers in the corps de ballet during rehearsals and performances, not just dancing, but also tying their shoes and waiting in the wings.
This was one of many Degas’ dancers painted over a span of 30 years. The back side of the banner is sea green like the sash on the dancer in the painting and the exhibition title is in white lettering, the dates in yellow. Bank of America and de Young logos appear in white at the bottom. Companion banners sold separately feature Monet’s Rue Montorgueil, Paris. Festival of June 30, 1878 and Manet’s The Fifer.
This banner was displayed around the San Francisco area between May 22 and September 6, 2010 to promote Birth of Impressionism: Masterpieces from the Musée d’Orsay. The exhibition had its U.S. debut at the de Young, and was followed by Van Gogh, Gauguin, Cezanne, and Beyond: Post–Impressionist Masterpieces from the Musée d’Orsay in the Fall of 2010. The de Young was the only museum in the world to host both exhibitions.