A Lighter Touch – 19th and 20th century European Art


exhibition Details

'There are two ways of spreading light; to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it' - Edith Wharton

The publication of Charles Baudelaire's essay on the aesthetics of modernity, Le Peintre de la vie moderne (Painters of Modern Life) 1863, helped to define the revolution that was taking place in France. Rather than the historical, biblical, mythic and allegorical themes revered by Academicians, Baudelaire called on artists to celebrate everyday life with equal seriousness. Scenes that reflected the street and café life of Paris; the mill of the crowd; the glitter of the circus, alongside the mundane but essential activities of France's working and rural communities became the focus, very different from dying heroes and maidens threatened by mythical monsters.

This 'lighter' approach to subject matter was matched by the remarkable change witnessed in technique in all forms of art. The Impressionists and Pointillists experimented with the application of paint, exploring the way in which light affects colour, while Post-Impressionists and the Fauves developed a non-naturalistic palette. In the new century, Picasso and Braque introduced radical means of interpreting line and form. A lighter touch-19th and 20th century European Art contains favourites from the period, giving us the opportunity to view them once more before the redevelopment of the Gallery begins.

Mary Kisler
Mackelvie Curator, International Art

Curated by
Mary Kisler
New Gallery
Free entry

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