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up to and including 17 July 2022
Fries Museum

À la campagne! French Light from Maris to Monet

Together with the Fries Museum, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen has organised a major exhibition on the influence of French light on nineteenth-century painting. The exhibition À la campagne! French Light from Maris to Monet is on display at the Fries Museum in Leeuwarden from 19 February to 17 July 2022.

The exhibition takes visitors on a journey through the artistic development of this ‘French vision’ of the landscape, from the Barbizon School to Post-Impressionism, and features renowned artists such as Eugène Boudin, Paul Cézanne, Paul Gauguin, Vincent van Gogh, Jacob Maris, Claude Monet, Camille Pissarro, Alfred Sisley and Jan Hendrik Weissenbruch.

The longing for nature: À la campagne

All the travel restrictions and lockdowns of the last two years have created an unprecedented desire to be surrounded by nature. This longing for the countryside has been recorded by many artists over the centuries. They captured the landscape in the available light conditions: from sunrise to sunset, soft and warm, grey and leaden, brilliant and fading. From the Barbizon School to Post-Impressionism, it was the French artists who took the lead in the nineteenth century. The exhibition shows how light played an important role in nineteenth century art: the sun’s rays sparkle on the water, the light dapples through the leaves and the wind dances on the canvas. Spread over six galleries, the selected paintings, drawings and prints of meadows, orchards, gardens, hillsides and coastlines exhibit a great love of nature.

Vincent van Gogh, View of Arles on the River Rhône (Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region, France), c. 1888, collection Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam. Donation Herman van Beek and Han Nijgh, 1929
Vincent van Gogh, View of Arles on the River Rhône (Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region, France), c. 1888, collection Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam. Donation Herman van Beek and Han Nijgh, 1929
Paul Cézanne, Forest View, c. 1896, collection Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam. Loan Stichting Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, 1940 | former collection Koenigs
Paul Cézanne, Forest View, c. 1896, collection Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam. Loan Stichting Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, 1940 | former collection Koenigs
Jean-François Millet, Les glaneuses, c. 1855-1856, collection Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam. Donation dr. A.J. Domela Nieuwenhuis, 1923
Jean-François Millet, Les glaneuses, c. 1855-1856, collection Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam. Donation dr. A.J. Domela Nieuwenhuis, 1923

Boijmans x Fries Museum

The renovation of Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen provides a unique opportunity to send the museum’s world-class collection of nineteenth-century paintings on a one-off journey. From leading French artists such as Charles-François Daubigny, Théodore Rousseau, Jean-François Millet, Sisley, Cézanne, Pissarro and Pierre-Auguste Renoir via colourful Belgian painters such as Théo van Rysselberghe and Rodolphe Wytsman to prominent Dutch artists such as Van Gogh, Johan Thorn Prikker and Jan Toorop, and the beloved painters of the Hague School.

In preparation for 'À la campagne!', Marlies Stoter, curator at the Fries Museum, and Sandra Kisters, head of collections and research at Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, spent hours browsing the collection of nineteenth-century landscape paintings in the recently opened Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen.

During their search, they encountered many familiar faces but were also surprised by new finds. They selected more than ninety paintings and works on paper. Popular favourites and undiscovered treasures, including several rarely shown drawings, have been taken from the Depot and carefully cleaned and restored to allow them to shine in Leeuwarden.

Impressionism in Boijmans’ collection

Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen has an exceptionally beautiful collection of nineteenth-century paintings and works on paper, especially in the field of Impressionism. Many of these works were collected in the first half of the twentieth century by collectors such as Franz Koenigs, Wouter Palte, Daniel George van Beuningen, Johannes Pieter van der Schilden and Willem van der Vorm. They have ended up in the museum’s collection as gifts, purchases or – as in the case of the Willem van der Vorm Foundation – as long-term loans. Works have also been added to the collection in recent decades, including Cézanne’s Landscape Near Aix with the Tour de César and a wonderful little en-plein-air study by Matthijs Maris. In addition to works by the Impressionists, Boijmans also has beautiful works by the artists of the Hague School and the Barbizon School.

The collection of Impressionist works includes masterpieces by leading artists such as Monet, Cézanne, Pissarro, Renoir and Edgar Degas, supplemented by Dutch masters such as Van Gogh and George Hendrik Breitner.

Publication, audio guide and podcast

The exhibition is accompanied by a publication, available for €29.95 in the Fries Museum’s shop and webshop and in bookshops or online. The audio guide, consisting only of poems in which the experience of nature is central, has been recorded by television presenter Philip Freriks.

The Fries Museum has also developed a podcast in which radio and television presenter Andrea van Pol talks with enthusiasts and experts about their love of the outdoors. It is available free of charge from 19 February in various podcast apps and on the website.

info and tickets Fries Museum

Friese Arcadia 2022

The exhibition 'À la campagne! French Light from Maris to Monet' is part of the Friese Arcadia 2022, the 100-day triennial with an extensive cultural programme focusing on society, landscape and heritage.