The first-ever major exhibition of works by famous French artists who sought refuge in Britain during the 19th century Franco-Prussian War opened here Thursday at the Tate art gallery.
The Tate has brought together over 100 works by Monet, Tissot, Pissarro and others in the first large-scale exhibition to chart the stories of the French artists.
The largest section of the exhibition is dedicated to representations of the River Thames, featuring a group of Monet’s Houses of Parliament series.
The exhibition — Impressionists in London, French Artists in Exile (1870-1904), maps the artistic networks painters built in Britain, and considers the aesthetic impact London had on their work. The paintings also feature instantly-recognisable views of London as seen through French eyes. It continues at the Tate until May 7 next year.
The exhibition looks at French painters’ keen observations of British culture and social life, which were notably different to the cafe culture they found in Paris.
Evocative depictions of figures enjoying London parks such as Pissarro’s Kew Green (1892) are shown, as well as scenes of regattas fringed with bunting as painted by Alfred Sisley and James Tissot in The Ball on Shipboard, circa 1874.
The paintings demonstrate how British social codes and traditions captured the imagination of the Impressionist French artists at the time, said the Tate.