When it comes to art all you need say is “impressionist” for me to come running. Add an exhibition space in an elegant, 19th-century villa set in a wooded park with the French Alps as a distant backdrop and you’d best not get in my way as I come through.
You might have guessed that I’m describing the exquisite exhibition underway at the Hermitage Foundation in Lausanne until 22 May of some 140 oil paintings, watercolors and drawings by master neo-impressionist painter Paul Signac (1863-1935). His works celebrate color, light, composition and technique in that unique and breathtaking way that make impressionist canvases (or neo-impressionists in this case) so cherished by art lovers.
These works transform the everyday into something uplifting and otherworldly — “heavenly” may be a better way of saying it.
In Signac, une vie au fil de l’eau nature and village scenes, sailing vessels, busy French ports and serene interpretations of Provencal life (before the tourist hordes descended) preoccupy Signac’s subject matter; his love of the sea and sailing, a personal passion, is evident throughout.
One room is devoted to introducing visitors to the colour theories of the neo-impressionists, featuring paintings by masters in that genre: Pissarro, Luce, Van Rysselberghe and Cross. It’s difficult to capture the luminescence of the original artworks in photographs, but these will give you an idea of what you can find in the exhibition:
This unique exhibition, which gathers artworks owned by a single family, is curated by Marina Ferretti, Scientific Director at the Musée des impressionnismes, Giverny and co-custodian of the Signac Archives. It’s mounted together with the Museo d’Arte della Svizzera italiana, Lugano, where it will be on view from September 2016 to January 2017.
A number of events and activities are planned including a lecture this evening, 21 April, at 6.30pm (in French) on Signac et la découverte de Saint-Tropez (please call to book a place). Private guided tours in French, English and German can be booked by prior arrangement. Meals (including a Sunday brunch with guided tour in French) can be enjoyed at the nearby café-restaurant L’Esquisse. Information on the Hermitage’s opening hours and admission can be found here.
Have you visited an exhibit lately that you’d love to recommend? If so, please leave a comment so that we can check it out as well.