Paris.- The Marmottan Monet Museum is pleased to present “Henri Edmond Cross and Neo-Impressionism: Seurat to Matisse”, on view until February 19th. The exhibition traces the evolution of the work of Henri Edmond Cross (1856-1910) in the context of work by other members of the Neo-Impressionist movement, highlighting Cross’s network of friends, influences and followers from his Paris years with Georges Seurat, Paul Signac and the other ‘Neos’, to the last 20 years of his life (1892-1910), when he settled in Saint-Clair, near his friend Signac in Saint-Tropez – the rallying point for a new generation of artists, where Henri Matisse and the future Fauves discovered and experimented with the principles of ‘divisionism’.
The exhibition gathers some one hundred oil paintings and watercolours from private collections and museums worldwide (Germany, Belgium, Japan, the USA), including pivotal works in the history of Neo-impressionism, never before seen in public. The first part of the exhibition presents paintings by members of the first Neo-Impressionist group (Cross, Signac, Albert Dubois-Pillet, Camille Pissarro, Maximilien Luce, Theo Van Rysselberghe), pioneers of the movement’s painstaking ‘divisionist’ technique, based on the optical blending of small strokes of pure prismatic colour, contrasting tones, and the use of colour complementaries. The exhibition continues with an exploration of the parallel careers of Cross, Signac and Van Rysselberghe – and the revelation of colour witnessed in their paintings – as the starting point for the ‘second’ Neo-Impressionist movement, featuring thicker touches of colour, and a more strident palette. The final section highlights the links between Cross and a younger generation of painters – including Camoin, Manguin and Henri Matisse – establishing him as a unique, essential link between Seurat’s Divisionism and the Fauvist movement pioneered by Matisse and Derain.
The exhibition also highlights Cross’s watercolour paintings, an important feature of his work throughout his career. Organised in association with the Musée Départemental Matisse in Cateau-Cambrésis, part of the exhibition at the Musée Marmottan Monet will transfer to Matisse’s home town, from 12 March to 10June, 2012. The partner exhibitions each feature the same core body of work, together with their own selections of paintings, many on public show for the first time, shedding new light on Cross’s work and (re)introducing the artist to a wider international audience. By comparing Cross’s paintings with those of his contemporaries – Seurat, Signac, Luce, Van Rysselberghe, Camoin, Matisse and others – both exhibitions will highlight the distinctive, poetic quality of his work, and demonstrate his importance and decisive influence in the context of modern art as a whole.
The Marmottan Monet Museum, a former hunting lodge of Christophe Edmond Kellermann, Duke of Valmy, was acquired in 1882 by Jules Marmottan. His son Paul made it his home and extended the hunting lodge to accommodate his collection of First Empire art objects and paintings. When he died in 1932, he bequeathed to the Academy of Fine Arts all of his collections and his home became the Marmottan Museum in 1934 and the library of Boulogne. In 1957, the Museum received a significant donation from Victorine Donop de Monchy, inherited from his father, Dr. Georges de Bellio, including works by Édouard Manet, Claude Monet, Pissarro, Alfred Sisley and Renoir, who was one of the first fans of impressionist painting. Michel Monet, the second son of the painter, in 1966 bequeathed to the Academy of Fine Arts his property in Giverny and its collection of paintings inherited from his father for the Marmottan Museum. He endowed the Museum and the largest collection of works by Claude Monet. The architect and curator of the Museum academician Jacques Carlu then built a room inspired by the great decorations of the Orangerie in the Tuileries to receive the collection.
The works collected by Henri Duhem and his wife Mary Sergeant come beautifully complement this fund in 1987 Thanks to the generosity of their daughter Nelly Duhem. Painter and comrade of Post-Impressionist, Henri Duhem was also a passionate collector collecting the works of his contemporaries. In 1996, Denis and Annie Rouart Foundation was created in the Marmottan Monet Museum in accordance with the wishes of its benefactor . The Museum then enriches its collections of prestigious works of Berthe Morisot, Edouard Manet, Edgar Degas, Auguste Renoir and Henri Rouart. Daniel Wildenstein provided an exceptional collection of illuminated manuscripts of his father to the Marmottan Museum in 1980. Since then many other bequests, equally important, were added to the museum collections such as those of Emile Bastien Lepage, Vincennes Bouguereau, Henri Le Riche, John Paul Leon, Andre Billecocq, Gaston Schulmann, the Foundation Florence Gould, Roger Hauser, Cila of Dreyfus, or that of Therese Rouart. . Visit the museum’s website at … www.marmottan.com