In the autumn and winter of 2019/20, Hamburg will play host to French Impressionism in the form of first-rate works from the Ordrupgaard Museum. The cornerstone of the collection of the Danish museum, which has been state-run since 1953, was laid with the art treasures amassed by the insurance company director Wilhelm Hansen and his wife, Henny, starting in the late 19th century. The Hamburg exhibition will feature paintings by all of the leading Impressionists: Camille Pissarro, Édouard Manet, Edgar Degas, Alfred Sisley, Claude Monet, Berthe Morisot, Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Eva Gonzalès. The works on view will vividly recreate for visitors the revolutionary developments in motifs, painting techniques and perceptual effects that unfolded on canvas within just a few decades starting in the 1870s. A special highlight is a group of eight paintings by Paul Gauguin, whose work already ushered in Post-Impressionism.
After launching their collection in the 1890s with a focus on Danish art, from 1916 onwards the Hansens devoted themselves instead to building a representative collection of French painting. In Paris, they maintained contacts with critics such as Théodore Duret and prominent art dealers, especially Ambroise Vollard, with whose help they were able to put together a spectacular collection. The couple did not limit themselves to the Impressionists but also collected works from the periods immediately before and after the Impressionist heyday, thus tracing developments during an entire century of French painting. The exhibition therefore also includes examples of Classicism and Romanticism (Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres and Eugène Delacroix) as well as works by leading French Realists such as Gustave Courbet, Camille Corot, Charles-François Daubigny and Jules Dupré. The latter already took up plein-air painting and are therefore rightly considered forerunners of Impressionism.
Following exhibitions on Degas (2009) and Manet (2016), »Impressionism: Masterpieces from the Ordrupgaard Collection« offers the first opportunity to see distinguished works by all leading Impressionists gathered together in one place in Hamburg. This has been made possible thanks to the Kunsthalle’s good relations with the Ordrupgaard Museum, which is allowing an extraordinarily generous selection of works to go on view in Hamburg while it renovates and expands its premises.