Notecards & Postcards

Van Gogh and the Avant-Garde: Along the Seine

An examination of the innovative portrayals of industry and leisure created by five avant-garde artists working at Asnières in the late nineteenth century.

From 1881 to 1890, Vincent van Gogh, Georges Seurat, Paul Signac, Emile Bernard, and Charles Angrand chose Asnières, a suburb of Paris, as a site of artistic experimentation. Located on the Seine, Asnières became a popular destination for Parisians thanks to aquatic sports and festivals starting in the 1850s, facilitated by the arrival of new train stations and bridges earlier in the century. This convenient new transportation system had beckoned Parisians to more distant destinations like Argenteuil and Bougival, resulting in the river scenes depicted by Impressionists like Monet and Renoir. At the same time, the idyllic landscape of Asnières increasingly contrasted with the factories appearing on the opposite side of the river. Homing in on the tensions between leisure and work, the avant-garde artists at Asnières sought to capture the feeling of this starkly modern landscape by developing innovative motifs, styles, and techniques that pushed their work in new directions. Hardcover, 208 pages.

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