Impressionist Works from Private Collections at Musée Marmottan

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Despite the fact that Musée Marmottan Monet, in the 16th, contains the world’s largest collection of Monet’s works, as well as drawings and paintings by Manet, Pissaro, Sisley, Renoir, and Berthe Morisot, it’s a lesser known Paris museum, and under-appreciated.

The current expo, “Impressionist Works from Private Collections”, solidifies the museum’s reputation as a hidden gem.

The show consists of 100 masterpieces that trace the development of Impressionism, from its first stirrings (works by Corot, Boudin and Jongkind explore plein air painting and the play of light in landscapes), through the movement’s high point in the late 1870s (Monet, Renoir, Pissaro, Sisley and others favor locations along the Seine), and beyond, as Impressionists began to pursue new directions, opening the door to modern art. The progression is a perfect lead-up to Monet’s later works, which are on the verge of abstraction.

The show begins on the ground floor, where a narrow hall is lined with the early landscape paintings, and filled with people. The crowds thin when the rooms open up; subsequent spaces give special attention to Degas, Caillebotte and Cezanne. The show ends downstairs, where several rooms are devoted to Monet’s life and his studies of water lilies. Outside the exhibit, part of the permanent collection on the first floor, are exquisite paintings by Berthe Morisot.

The popularity of the temporary expo means that there are lines at the entrance, which you can avoid by buying tickets on-line. When you arrive at the front door with your ticket, look for the sign that says “Coupe-file”.

Until July 6

Have you been to Musée Marmottan? to this show? what are your impressions?