The de Young and Musée d'Orsay Announce Two Impressionist Exhibitions to Debut in San Francisco in May & September 2010

SAN FRANCISCO—The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco and the Musée d’Orsay jointly announce two consecutive special exhibitions, Birth of Impressionism: Masterpieces from the Musée d’Orsay and Van Gogh, Gauguin, Cézanne and Beyond: Post-Impressionist Masterpieces from the Musée d’Orsay which will be on view at the de Young Museum for a combined eight months beginning in May 2010 and ending in January 2011. Each exhibition will include approximately 100 paintings from the Musée d’Orsay’s permanent collection and highlights the work of nearly 40 artists including Cézanne, Degas, Gauguin, Manet, Monet, Pissarro, Renoir, Rousseau, Seurat, Sisley, Toulouse-Lautrec, van Gogh and Vuillard. The Musée d’Orsay will loan the exhibitions while it undergoes a partial closure for refurbishment and reinstallation in anticipation of the Musée’s 25th anniversary in 2011. The de Young will be the only museum in the world to host both exhibitions. Tickets for the general public will go on sale on April 6, 2010.

“These two exhibitions present a rare and unique opportunity for Americans to see the evolution and incubation of the Impressionist style from the collection of the most important repository of French 19th and early 20th century art—the Musée d’Orsay,” says John E. Buchanan, director of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. “These exhibitions give us the opportunity to share with visitors some of the most seminal works of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist art that they would only be able to see in Paris or in an art history book as the likelihood of them traveling en masse again is slim.”

The first exhibition, Birth of Impressionism: Masterpieces from the Musée d’Orsay opens in the Herbst special exhibition galleries at the de Young on May 22, 2010 and runs through September 6, 2010. This exhibition puts forth nearly 100 works by the famous masters who called France their home during the mid-19th century and from whose midst arose one of the most original and recognizable of all artistic styles, Impressionism. This exhibition begins with paintings by naturalist artists such as Bougereau and Courbet and presents American expatriate James McNeil Whistler’s Arrangement in Gray and Black, known to many as “Whistler’s Mother.” Early work by Manet, Monet, Renoir and Sisley are on view as well as a selection of Degas’ paintings that depict images of the ballet, the racetrack and life in “la Belle Époque.” Notable works in this exhibition include:

  • The Fife Player by Edouard Manet (1866)
  • Family Reunion by Frédéric Bazille (1867)
  • Arrangement in Gray and Black No. 1 or Portrait of the Artist’s Mother by James McNeil Whistler (1871)
  • The Birth of Venus by William Adolphe Bouguereau (1879)
  • The Cradle by Berthe Morisot (1872)
  • Saint-Lazare Station by Claude Monet (1877)
  • The Swing by Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1876)
  • Rue Montorgueil, Paris. Festival of June 30, 1878 by Claude Monet
  • Racehorses Before the Stands by Edgar Degas (1866-1868)
  • The Dancing Lesson by Edgar Degas (1873-1876)
  • Portraits at the Stock Exchange by Edgar Degas (1878-1879)

The second exhibition, Van Gogh, Gauguin, Cézanne and Beyond: Post- Impressionist Masterpieces from the Musée d’Orsay, opens on September 25, 2010 and runs through January 18, 2011. This exhibition presents 120 of the Musée d’Orsay’s most famous late Impressionist paintings including those by Monet and Renoir, followed by the more individualistic styles of the early modern masters including Cézanne, Gauguin, Lautrec and van Gogh, and the Nabis painters, Bonnard and Vuillard. The exhibition will also provide a unique look at the Orsay’s spectacular collection of Pointillist painters including work by Seurat and Signac.

Notable works in this exhibition include:

  • A Dance in the Country by Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1883)
  • The Circus by George Seurat (1891)
  • Self Portrait by Vincent van Gogh (1887)
  • Starry Night over the Rhone by Vincent van Gogh (1888)
  • The Artist’s Bedroom at Arles by Vincent van Gogh (1889)
  • Portrait of the Artist with the Yellow Christ by Paul Gauguin (1889)
  • Tahitian Women, On the Beach by Paul Gauguin (1891)
  • Still Life with Onions by Paul Cézanne (1895)
  • The Snake Charmer by Henri Rousseau (1907)

Tickets for both exhibitions will be timed and dated. Group tickets will be available on October 1, 2009. Member tickets will be available March 2, 2010.

Concurrent Exhibitions at the Legion of Honor
Two special exhibitions that provide context and heighten the understanding of the Musée d’Orsay exhibitions will run concurrently at the Legion of Honor. Impressionist Paris: City of Light (June 5–September 26, 2010) transports visitors to Paris circa 1874 as represented in over 180 paintings, photographs, prints, drawings and illustrated books from the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco and several private collectors. Japanesque: The Japanese Print in the Era of Impressionism (October 16, 2010–January 9, 2011) presents a chronological survey of the development of the Japanese print and its influence on the Impressionist painters.

The Musée d’Orsay exhibitions are organized by the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco with gratitude for exceptional loans from the Musée d’Orsay. Stéphane Guégan and Sylvie Patry serve as organizing curators for the Musée d’Orsay and Dr. Lynn Federle Orr serves as organizing curator for the de Young.

About the Musée d’Orsay
The Musée d’Orsay, a train station created for the Paris International Exposition of 1900 and transformed into a museum by renowned architect Gae Aulenti, opened to the public on December 9, 1986 with its goal to highlight the art of the western world from the period 1848 through 1914. Its collection, one of the world’s finest, is comprised of paintings, sculpture, drawings, decorative arts, furniture, photography, and architectural work from this period consolidated from collections of the Louvre, Jeu de Paume and Modern Art Museum in Paris as well as major gifts from private collectors, artists and their heirs. The Musée d’Orsay’s collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings represent the finest survey of its kind in the world.

About the de Young
The de Young, designed by Herzog & de Meuron and located in Golden Gate Park, showcases American art from the 17th through the 21st centuries, international textile arts and costumes, and art from the Americas, the Pacific, and Africa.