Impression, Sunrise, the painting that gave the name to Impressionism and the flagship of the Musée Marmottan Monet is one of the most famous paintings in the world. The enigma of the history of this work has not yet had a comprehensive study. Instead, for nearly forty years, the mystery seems to grow around the masterpiece : What does the painting truly represent? A sunrise or sunset? When was it painted? In 1872 or in 1873? What happened to the painting at the end of the first Impressionist exhibition? Why did it join in 1940, the collection of the Musée Marmottan, an institution originally dedicated to the First Empire and which was home to no Impressionist paintings? Why this date, and under what circumstances?
As part of the 80th anniversary of the opening of the Musée Marmottan and on the occa- sion of the 140th anniversary of the first public exhibition of ‘Impression, Sunrise’ the Musée Marmottan Monet decided to initiate the investigation and organize from September 18th, 2014 – January 18th, 2015, the first exhibition ever dedicated to the painting that founded Impressionism.
Around ‘Impression, Sunrise,’ the exhibition presents a careful selection of twenty-six works by Claude Monet, as well as thirty-five works from Eugène Delacroix, Gustave Courbet, Eugène Boudin, Johan Barthold Jongkind, WilliamTurner, Berthe Morisot, Alfred Stevens, Auguste Renoir, Camille Pissarro, Alfred Sisley, old photographs by Gustave Le Gray, Emile Letellier, and a selection of historical documents, many of which have never been published. The works will be coming from some of the largest French museums (Musée d’Orsay, Paris; Petit Palais, Musée des Beaux-Arts de la Ville de Paris, Paris; Musée d’art moderne André Malraux, Le Havre; Musée des Beaux-Arts de Lille, Musée des Beaux-Arts de Nancy...) as well as foreign (National Gallery, London, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, Städel Museum, Francfort-sur-Main; National Museum Wales, Cardiff) and private collections.The National Library, the historical library of the city of Paris, the Paris archives, the library and archives of Le Havre are also actively involved in the project.
The exhibition features 61 paintings and graphic works, including 26 works by Claude Monet and 45 documents mostly unpublished, from museums and private collections worldwide. It traces the journey of Impression, Sunrise and reveals a new page in history for this icon which until now has been entirely unknown.
Curators : Marianne Mathieu, joint director in charge of collections at Musée Marmottan Monet and Dominique Lobstein, Art Historian.