Impressionism in the Age of Industry at the Art Gallery of Ontario

This past weekend, I visited the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) to see it’s latest blockbuster exhibition, Impressionism in the Age of Industry. Here is a short review.

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ABOVE: Maximilien Luce, The Steelworks, 1895, oil on canvas

If you love art, and even if you don’t, chances are, you’ve heard of a group of artists called the Impressionists. The Art Gallery of Ontario’s latest exhibition Impressionism in the Age of Industry has many of them, including Monet and Pissarro.

While it’s always nice to see the big names represented, as is often the case, many of the best works in this show are by some of the lesser known of the group. One of my favorite pieces was The Steelworks (pictured above) by Maximilien Luce, and one of my favorite artists was Gustave Caillebotte. He figured prominently in the exhibition, and the selection of his paintings showed a progression from expressionism to realism (he and Manet are probably the most realistic artists of the movement).

As for the overall style of the show, what I love most about the Impressionists, is their ability to create work that appears completely different depending upon your proximity to it. Up close, it’s blurry. From afar, it’s very much in focus. All art does this to a degree, but the Impressionists were masters of it.

Owing to its subject matter (industrialization), this isn’t the brightest of exhibitions. That said, while the color palette is often dull, the paintings do show the beauty in the mundane, and the common worker is respected, if not revered.

All told, this is another solid effort by the Art Gallery of Ontario, and a show worth checking out.

Impressionism in the Age of Industry is at the Art Gallery of Ontario until May 5, 2019.

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