Impressionism and Beyond: Urban Life and Escape
Gallery 255 features two major themes of late 19th-century French painting. In contrast to the luminous landscapes of Monet, Pissarro, Signac, and Sisley, the works of Degas (Little Fourteen-Year-Old Dancer, original model 1878–81, cast after 1921) and Caillebotte (Man at His Bath, 1884) explored the realities of the modern urban experience in Paris, looking at the rapidly evolving world of the city and its inhabitants. Other artists sought an escape from the instability and expectations of urban life. Many found inspiration far from the modern boulevards of Paris, whether in the smaller towns and countryside of France or further beyond, in works like Gauguin’s masterpiece Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going? (1897–98). Additional works include extraordinary examples from the European collection: Renoir’s Dance at Bougival (1883), Van Gogh's Houses at Auvers (1890), and two portraits by Cézanne, Self-Portrait with a Beret (1898-1900) and Madame Cézanne in a Red Armchair (about 1877).