​Claude Monet, Houses of Parliament, c.1900-1 © 2017. The Art Institute of Chicago / Art Resource, NY/ Scala, Florence.

LONDON - This autumn, Tate Britain bring together over 100 beautiful works by Monet, Tissot, Pissarro and others in the first large-scale exhibition to chart the stories of French artists who sought refuge in Britain during the Franco-Prussian War (1870-1871). The EY Exhibition: Impressionists in London, French Artists in Exile (1870-1904) will map the artistic networks they built in Britain and consider the aesthetic impact London had on the artists’ work.

The EY Exhibition: Impressionists in London will look at French painters’ keen observations of British culture and social life, which were notably different to the café culture found in Paris. Evocative depictions of figures enjoying London parks such as Pissarro’s Kew Green 1892 will be shown, which were in stark contrast to formal French gardens where walking on the grass was prohibited. Scenes of regattas as painted by Alfred Sisley and James Tissot in The Ball on Shipboard c.1874 will also be shown, demonstrating how British social codes and traditions captured the imagination of the Impressionists at the time.


Claude Monet, Meditation, Mrs Monet Sitting on a Sofa, 1871, musée d'Orsay, Paris, France © Photo Musée d'Orsay/RMN.

While in London, French artists gravitated towards notable figures who would help them develop their careers and provide them with financial support. The exhibition will look at the mentorship Monet received from Charles-François Daubigny and consider the significant role of opera singer and art patron Jean-Baptiste Faure – works that he owned including Sisley’s Molesey Weir, Hampton Court, Morning 1874 will be displayed. However, one of the most influential figures to be celebrated will be art dealer Paul Durand-Ruel, who first met Monet and Pissarro in London during their respective exile in 1870-71. Durand-Ruel purchased over 5000 Impressionist works over his lifetime, which in Monet’s own words, saved them from starving.

Part of the exhibition will examine the central role of Alphonse Legros in French émigré networks. As Professor of Fine Art at the Slade School in London from 1876 – 1893, he made a dynamic impact on British art education both as a painter and etcher, and exerted a decisive influence on the representation of peasant life as can be seen in The Tinker 1874. He introduced his patrons Constantine Alexander Ionides and George Howard, 9th Earl of Carlisle, to sculptor Aimé-Jules Dalou who then, together with fellow sculptor and émigré Edouard Lantéri, shaped British institutions by changing the way modelling was taught. Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux’s sojourns in London, which he initially planned in order to stay close to his great patron, the exiled Emperor Napoleon III, will also be examined.


James Tissot, London Visitors, 1874. Milwaukee Art Museum, Layton Art Collection, Gift of Frederick Layton, L1888.14.

The final and largest section of the exhibition will be dedicated to representations of the Thames. Featuring the largest grouping of Monet’s Houses of Parliament series since 1973, this room will examine how depictions of the Thames and London developed into a key theme in French art. A selection of André Derain’s paintings of London landmarks, which answer directly to Monet’s, will demonstrate the continuity of this motif in art history. The show will conclude with the Entente Cordiale which, in the case of Monet in particular, marked the culmination of an artistic project which started in 1870.

The EY Exhibition: Impressionists in London, French Artists in Exile (1870-1904) will be curated by Dr Caroline Corbeau-Parsons in collaboration with the Petit Palais and Paris Musées. The exhibition will be accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue and a programme of talks and events in the gallery.

2 November 2017 – 29 April 2018


Alfred Sisley, Molesey Weir, Hampton Court, Morning, 1874. Photograph: Alfred Sisley/National Galleries/PA.


James Tissot, The Ball on Shipboard, c.1874, Tate. Presented by the Trustees of the Chantrey Bequest 1937.


James Tissot, Portsmouth Dockyard, c.1877, Tate. Bequeathed by Sir Hugh Walpole 1941.


Giuseppe De Nittis, Westminster, 1878. Private Collection.


Camille Pissarro, Charing Cross Bridge, 1890. Photograph: Camille Pissarro/National Galler/PA


Camille Pissarro, Hampton Court Green, 1891, National Gallery of Art, Washington. Ailsa Mellon Bruce Collection.


Camille Pissarro, Saint Anne's Church at Kew, London, 1892. Private Collection


Camille Pissarro, Kew Green, 1892, Musée d’Orsay Paris, France © Photo Musée d'Orsay/RMN.


Claude Monet, Leicester Square, 1901, Jean and Suzanne Planque Foundation, on loan to Musée Granet (Inv. FSJP-998-116). Photo © Luc Chessex.


Claude Monet, Le Parlement de Londres, effet de brouillard (Houses of Parliament, Fog Effect), 1903, Le Havre, musée d’art moderne André Malraux © MuMa Le Havre / David Fogel

Claude Monet, Houses of Parliament, Sunlight Effect 1903 (Brooklyn Museum of Art)

Claude Monet, Houses of Parliament, Sunlight Effect, 1903, Brooklyn Museum of Art.


Claude Monet, Houses of Parliament, Sunset, 1904. Photograph: Claude Monet/Kaiser Wilhelm Muse/PA.