French Impressionism, featuring paintings from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston



20 NOVEMBER 2021

Dr Adcock returned to U3APP for the fourth time to present a lecture on the development of this popular art style in France that has eventually been enjoyed around the world for over 150 years.

With the intention of linking this talk to the French Impressionists Exhibition at the NGV, the Covid lockdowns ensured that for many of us it instead became our only chance to get an up-close involvement.

The talk began with the art scene current in the mid-1800s, live models, portraits or scenes representing biblical events, allegories and literary scenes.  Artworks were entered in an annual “Salon” for sale, acceptance being granted to those artists whose work complied with the general practice.

Three major technical changes however allowed artists to shun the restrictions of this process.

  1. The development of a railway system allowed painters to get out to the countryside quickly and at little expense. So subjects such as forests, beaches, boats, villages, farms, windmills and haystacks, etc., were easily accessed, and replaced the restrictions of the studio.
  2. The development of paints in screw-top tubes removed reliance on mixing powders and could be applied directly onto a canvas.
  3. The invention of photography that could capture an image for painting at a later date.

In Victoria the parallel is that same freedom allowing our own impressionists to take a train to the north-east countryside and create the works that are now revered as works of the Heidelberg School.

The influence of the art dealer Paul Durand-Ruel was highlighted for his influence in that he bought up many works of these Impressionists, selecting only the very best of those available and took them to America to be sold to institutions and private collections. A consequence of that was  partly the artists’ financial well-being, the spread of understanding of what “impressionism” was, and as a consequence, the quantity of these paintings in American galleries and private collections.

Michael then moved on to some other groups or schools of painters such as the Barbizon School with Monet, Renoir, Sisley and Bazille; and the Batignolles Group of Manet and Degas. With each he displayed appropriate works to enhance understanding.

A series of questions concluded what was an absorbing and erudite introduction to arguably the most significant period of art.

Michael has just agreed to deliver Part 2 of his presentation in February, moving into the works of later artists and the Post Impressionists, with works by Manet and Monet, the two ladies – Cassatt and Morisot – plus Cezanne, Gaugin, van Gogh and Caillebotte.
Not to be missed!
To view a recording of the seminar, click HERE.

Mark Denniston – Facilitator

How to Enrol

On-line: after bookings have opened

On-line enrolments are preferred as this significantly reduces the amount of back-office work for our volunteers.

  • Login to the website.
  • Go to the Courses & Enrolling page.
  • Scroll down to find the course that you are interested in.
  • Does the course have spaces available?
    • Click on the course name to go to the booking page.
    • Click on “Book for this course or event”.
    • You will receive a confirmation email.  Please check your Junk/Spam folders as these automatically-generated emails often finish up there.
  • OR is the course shown as FULL?
    • Click on WAITLIST.

Paper Enrolment Form: before bookings open for First Semester

  • Obtain a paper Enrolment Form either from the Office or by printing an online copy available here.
  • Complete the paper Enrolment Form and submit it to the Office.

The start date for acceptance of paper Enrolment Forms for first semester is published on the U3APP website and in the e-Bulletin. Enrolment Forms received before this date are treated as though they had been received on the start date (ie there is no advantage to be gained by submitting early). On the start date and thereafter, paper Enrolment Forms are numbered in order of receipt.  Paper Enrolment forms are processed by U3APP volunteers on the same day as on-line bookings.

If your enrolment is successful, you will receive a confirmation email.  Please check your Junk/Spam folders as these automatically-generated emails often finish up there.

If your enrolment is unsuccessful,  you will receive an email telling you that you have been waitlisted.

Via the Office: after bookings have opened

  • Contact the office in person, or by email or phone.