Paris via Montreal, From VanGogh to Kandinsky at Beaux Arts

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From VanGogh to Kandinsky: Impressionism to Expressionism, 1900-1914, the current show at Montreal’s Musée des Beaux Arts, is a joyous riot of color, form, and conversation among artists.

The exchange begins in Paris at the turn of the 20th century, where French artists and poets (Matisse and Apollinaire among them) gathered with German artists, art historians, critics and patrons at the Café du Dôme in Montparnasse.

Word of new approaches in painting spread—the first museum to hang a VanGogh painting was in Germany.

The show, arranged chronologically, is wonderfully footnoted, with quotes by collectors and artists, historical overviews, and notes on many of the paintings. An exquisite charcoal drawing by Picasso, for example, “Bust of a Nude Woman,” draws a line of influence from Cézanne to the Cubists.

This is a wonderful chance to trace the development of many important French painters, including VanGogh, Gaugin, Matisse and Derain, and to discover an exhilarating collection of work by lesser known German artists, chief among them Kirchner, Heckel, Jawlensky.

Until Jan 25.

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