'Painting Light - The Hidden Techniques of the Impressionists'

29.2.2008 - 22.6.2008 (Wallraf-Richartz-Museum & Fondation Corboud, Cologne)
11.7.2008 - 28.9.2008 (Palazzo Strozzi, Florence)
11.9.2009 - 10.1.2010 (Albertina, Vienna)
9.7.2011 - 10.10.2011 (Aomori Museum of Art, Japan)

Which Impressionist painted on the lids of cigar boxes?
How fast did Van Gogh really work?
What secret was revealed by an X-ray of a Renoir?
How can a fake be spotted?

This presentation answers these and many other absorbing questions. With over 130 works, the show takes the visitor through the captivating world of Impressionist painting techniques. Apart from masterworks by Caillebotte, Gauguin, Manet, Monet, Pissarro, Renoir, Signac and Van Gogh, the exhibition features modern images showing the technical findings on these paintings. By bringing art and research face-to-face, the visitor is given an un­paralleled glimpse behind the scenes of Impressionism. And the Wallraf will be stocking up for this show, with first class loans coming from the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, the National Gallery of Scotland in Edinburgh, the Musée d'Orsay in Paris, the Tate Gallery in London, and the Art Institute of Chicago.

Point of departure for the exhibition is the research project "Painting Techniques in Impressionism and Postimpressionism", which was launched in 2005. Under the direction of the Conservation Department at the Wallraf, a team of experts (conservators, scientists and art historians), backed by renowned specialists from all around the world, investigated some seventy paintings from the museum's own collection. Using the latest technologies, combined with a detective's nose, the researchers not only looked at but also into and even through precious paintings. This allowed them to analyse for instance the different ways the works came into being, to examine the natural signs of age, or to pinpoint deliberate manipulations. With this exhibition, the Wallraf presents one fascinating finding after another from this thrilling research work. To round off the exhibition, the curators have traced the route from sensory perception, to the actual materials used, to the "location" either in the artist's studio or in the open air, as well as the painting techniques and the work's genesis up until its reception and later preservation.

The exhibition was curated and the catalogue was written by: Iris Schaefer, Caroline von Saint-George, Katja Lewerentz †

Photos of the exhibition
German / English
240 pages, 227 illustrations, 29 €
ISBN: 978-88-6130-609-7