France comes to Ballarat

The Art Gallery of Ballarat is introducing light into the darkness this winter, with its feature exhibition ‘Into Light’, showcasing a selection of nineteenth and early twentieth century works of art from Musée de la Chartreuse, a gallery located in the town of Douai, in the Flanders region of northern France.

Douai is just under half the size of Ballarat and is also transitioning from a reliance on heavy industry to a more diverse economy. Both towns used the wealth of nineteenth century industry to invest in cultural institutions. Into Light features art from both gallery’s collections, with the addition of relevant European and Australian paintings from a selection of Australian galleries.

The exhibition starts with the classical imagery of the late eighteenth century, relatively realistic images featuring romantic seascapes and tranquil landscapes. The darkness and heaviness of these works really highlight the contrast in the transition to Impressionism, with its celebration of the effects of pure light and colour. When looking at Impressionist art you see that landscapes are being painted on location, and the lives of ordinary people are being explored. One example is The Harvest Field, painted by E Phillips Fox in 1905, clearly showing the range of ages in the group of peasant workers, with a girl collecting grain and an older woman shown hard at work.

The exhibition Into Light: French masterworks from the Musée de la Chartreuse will run from Saturday 23rd June to Sunday 9th September

For details http://www.artgalleryofballarat.com.au

Image: The Harvest Field from the City of Whitehorse – gifted