Impressionism and Post-Impressionism

A woman and child in 19th century French costume with railings and steam in the background

'The Railway (The Gare Saint-Lazare)', Edouard Manet, National Gallery of Art, Washington

The Impressionists and Post Impressionists were the first artists to find poetry in the ceaseless movement of the modern city, of which the railway was an integral part.

The Gare Saint-Lazare and the nearby Pont de l’Europe road-bridge were the focus of many Impressionist paintings because a number of artists had studios in this area of Paris. Their interest in capturing the fleeting effects of light and atmosphere led them to paint the station and its surroundings animated by steam and smoke. They were also attracted by the engineering of the bridge.

The railway connected Paris with suburban and nearby country areas, such as Argenteuil, where Monet lived. Camille Pissarro lived in London for a time and painted the train in the suburban landscape. In the south of France, Van Gogh depicted the country train absorbed into the traditional rural landscape of Provence.

Artists featured in this section of the exhibition: - Edouard Manet, Claude Monet, Gustave Caillebotte, Paul-César Helleu, Norbert Goeneutte, Giuseppe De Nittis, Camille Pissarro, Lucien Pissarro, Spencer Gore, Vincent van Gogh.