Room 41

Manet, Monet and the Impressionists

In the 1860s Edouard Manet shocked exhibition visitors with his unflinching scenes of modern life. His radical style had a profound impact on Claude Monet, Alfred Sisley and other young artists in Paris who were experimenting with bright colour and rapid, sketch-like painting as they too tried to capture aspects of contemporary life.

Working in the open air along the river Seine, these artists used flickering brushstrokes to render fleeting effects of light and colour. Repeatedly snubbed by the official art world, they banded together informally to advance their art and in 1874 helped organise an exhibition of their works, which were dismissed as merely 'impressionist'.

While the group became less cohesive, Monet remained loyal to the Impressionist style. He continued to explore light and colour in various atmospheric conditions and times of the day. His works here range from an early, realistic Normandy beach scene to more freely rendered later paintings of his flower garden at Giverny.