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The Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao brought together the “cream of painting” of the late 19th century

The art currents of the late 19th century, curated by the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, are viewed from an unusual angle. The exposition “Paris, the End of the Century” analyzes how the emergence of avant-garde painting was influenced by political upheavals and the cultural transformation of that time. The public presents more than a hundred works of neo-impressionists, symbolists and nabidas - Paul Signac, Maximilian Luce, Maurice Denis, Pierre Bonnard, Odilon Redon, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and others.The exhibition curator Vivienne Green with undisguised pleasure noted that the museum managed to collect "the cream of painting of the end of the XIX century".Saint-Tropez. Fountain de Lispol Signac1895, 65 × 81 cm

The end of the century (fin-de-siècle, fan de cecl) in Paris was accompanied by a permanent economic crisis and a whole “bunch” of social problems. This became fertile ground for the emergence of radical left groups and the corresponding reaction of the conservatives. The events of the late 1890s divided France into bourgeois and bohemian, conservative and radical, Catholic and anti-clerical, anti-republican and anarchic.
The whole spectrum of artistic movements, including neo-impressionism, symbolism and the Nabi (Prophets) group, reflected this chaotic era. They adhered to the fact that their still active predecessors are impressionists: landscapes, leisure scenes and city life. But these works were full of introspective and fantastic visions, and the interpretation of familiar plots has changed.
Left: Paul Bonnard, "Little Laundress", lithograph (1896). Private collection

The Promenade, or Cypresses by Henry Edmond Cross1897, 28.3 × 41 cm. Anti-naturalistic in form and performance, which sought to evoke emotions, sensations and inner changes, came to replace impressionistic paintings that captured fleeting moments of life. Artists of all directions, in spite of sometimes contradictory positions, wanted to create art with a universal resonance, and there were even coincidences between members of different groups.View of London (Cannon Street) by Maximilian Luce 1893, 65 × 81 cm Neo-Impressionists debuted with a separate gallery at the Eighth (and last) Impressionist exhibition in Paris in 1886 headed by Georges Seurat. After his death, Paul Signac took the place of the leader of the movement. His associates were Maximilian Luce, Henri Edmond Cross, Belgian Theo van Reisselberg. Most neo-impressionists were left-wing. This is evident, for example, in the working-class depiction of Camille Pissarro and Luce, as well as in the utopian scenes found on the canvases of the followers of this movement.Brickworks "Delafoli" in EragniKamil Pissarro1888, 58 × 72 cm

Most of the artists associated with symbolism were not inclined to materialism and were disillusioned with the science that could not alleviate the suffering of society. Symbolic art focused on mythical narratives, religion, and the world of nightmares. This direction sought to expose abstract sensations and transmit universal experience through subjective images.
The works of neo-impressionists or nabids were sometimes identified with symbolism, for example, Maurice Denis (the Nabi group). At the same time, artists associated with this trend, in particular, Odilon Redon, did not always recognize themselves as such.
Left: Odilon Redon, Pegasus (1895 - 1900). Private collection

April (Anemones) Maurice Denis 1891, 65 × 78 cmDuring the 1890s, artists experimented with black-and-white and color possibilities of xylography and lithography. Members of the Nabi group Pierre Bonnard, Felix Vallotton and Edouard Vuillard produced simplified, but at the same time, biting posters and engravings depicting the modern life of Paris. In the world of posters sent his energy and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. Passers-by were attracted by the fascinating caricatures of bohemian places — the café-shantan of Montmartre — or the famous performers that reigned there.
  • Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, "Jeanne Avril" (1899). Private collection
  • Theophile-Alexander Steinlen, "The illustrious company" Black Cat "" (1896). Private collection
The exhibition "Paris, the end of the century" in the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao will last until September 17. Artur: read us in the Telegram and see on Instagram

According to the official website of the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao. Main illustration: Louis Anketen, “In" Mirliton "by Bruand" (1887), private collection