A magnificent Empire-style townhouse near the Bois de Boulogne contains a remarkable collection of paintings. On rue Louis Boilly, the Musée Marmottan Monet is home to the largest collection of paintings by Claude Monet in the world. Paul Marmottan inherited the house and its collection of First Empire treasures from his father. On his own death, he left the house and contents to the Académie de Beaux-Arts; it was opened to the public in 1934. Its great claim to fame really came in 1966 when Michel Monet, the second son and only heir of Claude, gave the museum more than 100 of his father’s paintings. Now the Musée Marmottan Monet is the source of some 60 works currently (until 1 September) at the National Gallery of Australia. These works include Monet’s Impression, sunrise, the seminal work which gave its name to Impressionism, the enduringly influential and popular art movement of the last quarter of the 19th century. Paintings by other artists who were influenced by Impressionism are also featured in this exhibition; they include Boudin, Turner, Courbet, Delacroix and Berthe Morisot.
A dramatic daylight robbery in 1985 saw Impression, sunrise and eight other works stolen. Happily, all were recovered from ‘a cubbyhole’ on Corsica and returned to the museum in 1991. Two other of the recovered paintings are also included in this historic exhibition: Au Bal by Berthe Morisot and On the Beach at Trouville (above) by Claude Monet.
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