During the 19th century Provence became the meeting place for a multitude of artists who came to be schooled by its beautiful landscapes. Beginning during the Age of Enlightenment artists from all over France, the United States, Italy, and other parts of the world converged on Provence because of its reputation for inspiring imagination that knew no boundaries. Frederic Mistral, Nobel Prize winner in Literature, dubbed Provence as the 'Empire of the Sun'. The area is famous for the effect that its sun has on the lighting; it is said to have created wonderful contrasts and changes the eye's perception of colours. Though the area is perceived as a peaceful one there was also a wild side to it and this much variety in one area drew artists in. Provence's contribution to the art world was cemented when none other than Vincent Van Gogh arrived there in 1888. The short time he spent in the area was the most productive (200 paintings) of his short career. If that wasn't enough, Paul Cézanne also worked there and it is almost impossible to discuss this region without mentioning Cézanne. His different look at the form of painting landscapes influenced many future painters. His paintings brought about Neo-Impressionism, which led to the birth of the Fauves, which evolved in Cubism. Provence became the birthplace of many a painting movement.
Even though the exhibition started over 3 months ago, judging by the large crowd that was at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts exhibition 'Landscape in Provence' it is proving to be quite popular with the public. For 90 minutes I was transported to the beautiful, colourful, wild, and natural landscapes of Provence. The exhibition moves chronologically from the Classical artists in the middle of the 18th century to the Cubists of the beginning of the 20th century. This allows the viewer to fully understand and appreciate the vast amounts of works produced and the importance of the region for almost 300 years. Artists from many artistic movements including Impressionism, Neo-Impressionism, Fauvism, Classicalism, Naturalism, and Cubism are represented in this ambitious and comprehensive exhibition. Over 200 works (paintings, photos, travel posters, and short films) by more than 60 artists (including Cézanne, Granet, Monticelli, Renoir, Monet, Van Gogh, Braque, and Delacroix) are on display. Take time out during this drab winter season to go to the museum and be warmed by the rays of the sun seemingly coming out of the paintings in this exhibition celebrating this beautiful Mediterranean area of France. Before the exhibition ends on January 8th allow yourself to be inspired by the beauty of the Provence landscape as many artists before you have been.
Address: 1380 Sherbrooke St. West
Museum Hours: Monday – Sunday: 10-6 except for Wednesday: 10-9
Ticket Cost: Adult: $15.00, Full-time Students under 30 and Senior over 65: $7.50, Children 12 and under (with an adult): Free, Family of four: $30.00
Ticket Purchase: At the museum ticket counter or www.admission.com