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Painting from Nature: European Landscape Sketches, 1770–1870
February 2 – May 3, 2020
West Building, Ground Floor, Inner Tier

Léon-François-Antoine Fleury, The Tomb of Cecaelia Metella, c. 1830, oil on canvas, National Gallery of Art, Washington, Gift of Frank Anderson Trapp, 2004.166.16

An integral part of art education in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, painting en plein air was a core practice for avant-garde artists in Europe. Intrepid artists such as Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, John Constable, Simon Denis, Jules Coignet, and André Giroux—highly skilled at quickly capturing effects of light and atmosphere—made sometimes arduous journeys to paint their landscapes in person at breathtaking sites, ranging from the Baltic coast and Swiss Alps to the streets of Paris and ruins of Rome. Drawing on new scholarship, this exhibition of some 100 oil sketches made outdoors across Europe during that time includes several recently discovered works and explores issues such as attribution, chronology, and technique.

The exhibition is accompanied by a comprehensive catalog with essays by leading experts in the field and will present new information about this key aspect of European art history.

The exhibition is curated by Mary Morton, curator and head of the department of French paintings, National Gallery of Art, Washington; Ger Luitjen, director, Fondation Custodia, Collection Frits Lugt, Paris; and Jane Munro, keeper of paintings, drawings and prints, Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge.

Organization: The exhibition is organized by the National Gallery of Art, Washington; the Fondation Custodia, Collection Frits Lugt, Paris; and the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge.

Passes: Admission is always free and passes are not required

Other venues: Fondation Custodia, Collection Frits Lugt, Paris, June 14–September 13, 2020
Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, October 6, 2020–January 31, 2021