|Monet, Waterloo Bridge|
Once you’ve got a feeling for its late 19th century splendor, cross the winter garden and climb the magnificent double-helix staircase. There you’ll find the rooms where temporary exhibits are hung.
|Monet, Marine, Le Havre|
|Pissarro, Snow over Eragny|
In the very first room, a short video tells a bit about Wilhelm Hansen and his love of art, and especially of the Impressionists. It explains that he originally wanted to have 12 pieces by each of the artists who caught his fancy, but later gave up on that detail. Amusingly, the video calls Camille Pissarro “the greatest Danish painter”, because he was born on the Caribbean island of St. Thomas, which was then ruled by Denmark. (A second Denmark connection is the fact that Paul Gauguin’s wife, Mette Sophie Gad, was Danish.)
Then it’s on to the canvases.
|Daubigny, Pleine Mer|
|Sisley, Inondation Bougival|
Very different indeed from another of the canvases in this room of landscapes: Pissarro’s “Snow over Eragny, Evening”, painted during his happy later years in a house Monet bought for him and his family*. When it was painted in 1894, Eragny, a simple town he has immortalized, was far from Paris, in the countryside where Pissarro could afford to raise his six children. The treatment of the sky and snow are very different from Monet’s, but the Impressionist approach to light as a structure is very clear.
|Manet, Bowl of Pears|
|Pissarro, Jardin Eragny|
Farther down the wall, a work by Degas: “Courtyard of the House” (1873), a “sketch” of a house in the hometown of his mother: New Orleans. I like the composition, but find the dog disturbingly large. I far prefer Sisley’s “Flooding along the Seine, Bougival”, also from 1873. It’s a true study in the dual principle of Impressionism: light and reflection, both treated masterfully here. The last of the paintings in this room that catches my eye is Pissarro’s “Corner of the Garden, Eragny” (1897). Not only is it a lovely study in how to capture dappled light filtering through the trees, but it looks very familiar. Which is natural, seeing as I think it was part of the Musée du Luxembourg’s exhibit dedicated to the artist’s Eragny period - Pissarro in Eragny - which ran from March to July of this year.
|Morisot, Woman with Fan|
Hanging right next to Morisot’s Mrs. Hubbard is a similarly white-clad brunette painted by an artist unfamiliar to me: Eva Gonzalès. The elongated canvas, painted around 1877, is even more soft than Morisot’s, almost blurred, the white of the dress somewhat fading into the white of the cushions. Which was probably done on purpose, seeing as it’s titled “The Convalescent”. When I get home, I look Gonzalès up and find she evolved in an artistic world (father a novelist, mother a musician wife a painter), lived around the corner in Avenue Frochot at one point, was a student of Manet and died at only 34 shortly after giving birth.
|Gauguin, Blue Trees|
One thing that’s unfortunate in this otherwise exceptional exhibit is that all the information provided is in French only. But there are audioguides available in several languages, so that problem can be overcome.
And when you’re done, there’s a café right by the entrance, in what fittingly used to be the mansion’s dining room? There you can enjoy a light lunch (salad, quiche, dish of the day) or a wide selection of pastries throughout the afternoon, as well as brunch on Sundays as of 11 am.
|Degas, Courtyard of House, New Orleans|
*I thought I’d posted my review of this show, but evidently not. I’ll do it in the future, if only to show you the artwork.
Le Jardin Secret des Hansen
|Gonzalès - The Convalescent|
158 boulevard Haussmann; 8è
Métro: St. Philippe du Roule
Until January 22, 2018
Daily 10-6, Mondays 10-8:30
13?50 € & 10.50 € (free under 7 years of age)