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John Singer Sargent, “In the Luxembourg Gardens” (1879), oil on canvas, 25 7/8 x 36 3/8 inches, Philadelphia Museum of Art: John G. Johnson Collection, 1917 (courtesy of the Philadelphia Museum of Art)

Now on View at the Bruce, Electric Paris

From May 14 through September 4, 2016, Electric Paris offers a revealing look at the role of new lighting technologies in the work of the Impressionists and their contemporaries.

While the nickname “City of Light” first arose in the eighteenth century when Enlightenment philosophers made Paris a center of ideas and of metaphorical illumination, the term came to be associated with the blaze of artificial light that began to illuminate the streets of Paris by the 1840s and 1850s. Illuminated public spaces and private interiors appear frequently in works of art and popular depictions of contemporary life in the second half of the nineteenth century, yet the different types of lighting that animate such spaces have never been considered in detail.

This exhibition is the first to explore the ways in which artists depicted older oil and gas lamps and the newer electric lighting that began to supplant them by the turn of the twentieth century. Whether nostalgic renderings of gaslit boulevards, subtly evocative scenes of half shadow, or starkly illuminated dance halls, these works of art record the changing appearance of both interior and exterior spaces, and suggest the ways in which Parisians experienced the city as it transitioned from old to new technologies.

A selection of approximately 50 works by artists such as Edgar Degas, Mary Cassatt, Pierre Bonnard, Édouard Vuillard, Georges Seurat, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Jean Béraud, James Tissot, Childe Hassam, Charles Courtney Curran, Alfred Maurer, and Maurice Prendergast, among others, will be on view. Electric Paris will be accompanied by a scholarly lecture series, film series and Paris inspired events.

Plan your visit today! Click here for directions and hours. The Museum is 3 minute walk from Greenwich Station or a 40 minute drive from NYC.

Electric Paris continues at Bruce Museum (1 Museum Drive, Greenwich, Connecticut) through September 4, 2016.

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