Inspired by works in the NGV Collection, curators and academic experts guide learners through an introductory study of Impressionism and its enduring legacy.
$44 Members / $49 Non-Members
Includes 7-week access to learning materials from the course start date (Monday 1 November). Access will expire at midnight on Sunday 19 December.
Week 1: A Time of Great Change
What were the social, political and cultural influences that led to the birth of Impressionism in France in the late nineteenth century? Learn about the key figures and philosophies behind the development of this dynamic movement, and the story of how it came to be so influential.
Week 2: En Plein Air – Impressionist Landscapes
Portable easels and collapsible paint tubes gave nineteenth century artists new freedom to leave the studio and paint outdoors. Impressionist artists ventured to various locations experimenting with ways to capture light and scenes of modern life. Discover how Impressionist paintings documented the changing landscape, mapped the artists’s travels, and formed a record of their ongoing experimentations with colour, composition and technique.
Week 3: What Was Old Becomes New – Still Life and Portraiture
Rejecting the polished formalism of traditional portraiture, Impressionist portraits captured unguarded moments of intimacy, informal scenes of domesticity and the bustle of contemporary life. Still Life also made a resurgence with the Impressionists painters, who delighted in capturing lively, colourful arrangements of everyday things. Learn about how these two genres of painting were re-invented during the Impressionist movement.
Week 4: Revisiting and Reinterpreting Impressionism
Since the first Impressionist exhibition in 1874, Impressionism has gained universal popularity and its artists have become household names around the world. Exhibitions of Impressionism have steadily attracted new admirers and added fresh perspectives to the body of knowledge about the artists, their work and their environment. Who has been omitted from traditional art historical accounts of Impressionism, and how are writers and curators reconsidering the legacy of Impressionism through a contemporary lens?
- Examine the social and historical factors that led to the birth of the Impressionist movement in France
- Describe the characteristics and objectives of the Impressionist movement
- Identify and discuss key Impressionist artists and their work
- Trace the influence and impact of French Impressionism
- Examine the legacy of Impressionism and how it is being re-interpreted in recent decades
Dr Angela Hesson is Curator of Australian Painting, Sculpture and Decorative Arts to 1980 at the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV). She has curated numerous exhibitions across international and Australian art including Love: Art of Emotion 1400-1800 (2017), Hans and Nora Heysen: Two Generations of Australian Art (2019) and She-Oak and Sunlight: Australian Impressionism (2021). Prior to her appointment at the NGV, she was employed as a lecturer in Art History and Literature at The University of Melbourne, as a curator at The Johnston Collection, and as a freelance arts writer.
Anthea Callen FRSA is a world expert on Impressionism and nineteenth-century artists’ materials and techniques, lecturing and collaborating internationally in her specialist fields. She is a regular contributor to BBC1’s Fake or Fortune?, and in film and on radio. Her classic volume The Art of Impressionism: Painting Technique and the Making of Modernity (2000) is now available as a Yale University Press e-book. Callen’s book on landscape painting practice and theory, The Work of Art: Plein Air Painting and Artistic Identity in Nineteenth-Century France appeared in 2015 (Reaktion). Her latest book is Looking at Men: Art, Anatomy and the Modern Male Body (Yale, 2018). www.antheacallen.com.
Dr Anne Gray AM is an art historian and independent curator with more than forty years’ experience working in art museums. She was head of Australian art at the National Gallery of Australia (2001–16), director of The Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery, University of Western Australia (1995–2001), head of art at the Australian War Memorial (1980–1995) and educator at the Art Gallery of Western Australia (1975–80). She has curated around forty exhibitions including A. Henry Fullwood: War Paintings (1983), The Edwardians: Secrets and Desires (2004), McCubbin: Last Impressions (2009), Face: Australian Portraits 1880–1960 (2010), Tom Roberts Retrospective (2015–16), Arthur Streeton: The Art of War (2017–19) and She-Oak and Sunlight: Australian Impressionism (2021). She was co-curator of Australia (2013) at the Royal Academy of Arts, London. She has written widely on Australian art and artists, and co-edited with Ann Galbally Letters from Smike: The Letters of Arthur Streeton, 1890–1943 (1989).
Belinda Thomson is an Honorary Professor in the History of Art at the University of Edinburgh. She completed her Masters at the Courtauld Institute of Art, and is a specialist in late nineteenth-century French art. She is author of books on Gauguin, Vuillard, Van Gogh, Post-Impressionism and Impressionism. She has curated and co-curated exhibitions on Vuillard, Bonnard and Gauguin.
Caroline Holmes is a garden historian and academic tutor at the University of Cambridge ICE, and Course Director for Cambridge Virtual Festivals of Learning. She is the author of twelve books including Monet at Giverny (translated into French, Norwegian and Chinese), Impressionists in their Gardens and Water Lilies and Bory Latour-Marliac – the Genius behind Monet’s water lilies.
Cathy Leahy is Senior Curator of Prints and Drawings at the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV). Cathy Leahy has curated numerous exhibitions at the NGV including William Blake (2014); John Wolseley – Heartlands and Headwaters (2015); Luminous: Australian Watercolours 1900–2000 (2016) and Colony: Australia 1770–1861 / Frontier Wars (2018). In 2018 she curated the NGV blockbuster exhibition Escher x nendo: Between Two Worlds.
Cindy Kang is Associate Curator at the Barnes Foundation, Philadelphia. A specialist in 19th- and early 20th-century French art, she particularly looks at how painting relates to domestic interiors. Dr. Kang received her PhD from the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University and previously worked at the Frick Collection, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and was a visiting scholar at the Getty Research Institute. Most recently, she curated Marie Cuttoli: The Modern Thread from Mir to Man Ray (2020) and was the managing curator of Berthe Morisot: Woman Impressionist (2018) at the Barnes.
Elena Taylor is Senior Curator at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) Art Collection. Prior to her current role, Elena was Curator of Australian Painting and Sculpture at the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) and Curator of Australian Art at the National Gallery of Australia (NGA). She is the author of numerous articles and books with a focus on Australian expatriate artists and Australian modernism. Her exhibitions include Grace Crowley: Being modern (NGA), Brave New World: Australia 1930s (NGV) and Jan Senbergs: Observation/Imagination (NGV). In 2013 she curated Australian Impressionists in France: 1885-1915 (NGV), the first exhibition to reveal the extent of transnational artistic exchange during these decades.
Dr Elizabeth Kertesz is a research fellow at the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music, The University of Melbourne. She has written extensively on the English composer Ethel Smyth, and in 2018 published a monograph with Michael Christoforidis, entitled Carmen and the Staging of Spain: Recasting Bizet’s Opera in the Belle Epoque. Her current research interests include Spanish-themed music, entertainment and film from the Belle Epoque into the first half of the twentieth century, and the engagement of visual artists with music in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
Holly McGowan-Jackson is Senior Conservator of Frames and Furniture at the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV). She joined the NGV team in 1996 following studies at the University of Canberra and an 18-month Andrew Mellon Fellowship in Furniture Conservation at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Holly coordinates programs for the conservation of picture frames and furniture, as well as the reframing of artworks based on historical evidence. She manages the NGV Centre for Frame Research and is currently undertaking in-depth research into nineteenth century Melbourne frame makers and the conservation of coatings on gilded surfaces
Katie Hanson, PhD, is Curator of Paintings, Art of Europe, at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Among her recent projects are exhibitions dedicated to Claude Monet, Paul Cézanne, Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele, as well as the medium of pastel in the age of Impressionism. Her most recent book, Monet: Paintings at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, was published in April 2020.
Marina Ferretti is an art historian and curator and an expert in the work of Paul Signac. From 1983 to 2000, she collaborated in the preparation of the artist’s catalog raisonné published by Françoise Cachin and was responsible for the Signac Archives until 2012. Scientific director of the Musée des Impressismes Giverny from 2009 to 2019, she is also the author of several essays and books (notably Signac Watercolorist in 2001) and has curated numerous international exhibitions devoted to Signac as well as to Neo-impressionism, including Radiance: The Neo-impressionists at the National Gallery of Victoria in 2012.
Dr Maria Quirk is Assistant Curator, Collections and Research at the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV). A historian of women’s and art history, she has previously held academic positions at the University of Queensland and Deakin University, and is a former State Library of Queensland research fellow. Maria’s research has previously appeared in Woman’s Art Journal and The Journal of Victorian Culture and Visual Culture in Britain. Her first monograph, Women, Art and Money in Late Victorian and Edwardian England: The Hustle and the Scramble was published by Bloomsbury in 2019.
Meg Slater is Assistant Curator, International Exhibition Projects at the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV). Since 2017, Meg has worked on a number of the NGV’s major international exhibitions, including MoMA at NGV: 130 Years of Modern and Contemporary Art (2018); Alexander Calder: Radical Inventor (2019); Keith Haring / Jean-Michel Basquiat: Crossing Lines (2019-20); French Impressionism from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (2021) and Queer (2021-22). Prior to her role at NGV, Meg completed internships in the Curatorial, Exhibitions Management and Public Programs departments of several museums including the Victoria & Albert Museum in London and the Brooklyn Museum in New York. In 2016, Meg graduated from the University of Queensland with a Dual Degree in Art History and Business. Meg is currently undertaking a Master of Art Curatorship at The University of Melbourne.
Phip Murray is a writer, curator and an academic who lectures in art and design history/theory at RMIT University. She is also a PhD candidate at The University of Melbourne where she is researching the emergence of Australian art history. Phip has an extensive track record in the contemporary art sector and has produced or curated over fifty exhibitions. Past roles include director of West Space and, more recently, co-curator (with Ewan McEoin,The Hugh Williamson Senior Curator, Architecture and Design, NGV) the Melbourne Pavilion for the 2018 Hong Kong Business of Design Week. Phip is also an experienced writer, researcher, editor and publisher. Alongside ongoing art criticism and exhibition texts, Phip writes regularly for the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV). This has included books such as Loti Smorgon, a profile of the art collector and philanthropist and The NGV Story, a history of the NGV on the institution’s 150th anniversary. Recent NGV projects include the scripts for the audio tours for the exhibitions She-Oak and Sunlight: Australian Impressionism and French Impressionism from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
Roberta Crisci is an art historian specialising in nineteenth-century French and Italian art, with a particular focus on Impressionism, Divisionism and Symbolism. Much of her research deals with modern artists’ self-fashioning, as typified by Edgar Degas and Camille Pissarro, at the intersection of life and artistic practice in the late nineteenth century, a time of epochal and global changes in society and politics. She lectures in Art History at Federation University, Australia.
Sophie Gerhard is Assistant Curator of Australian Paintings, Sculpture and Decorative Arts to 1980 at the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) and a PhD candidate at The University of Melbourne. Prior to joining NGV in 2019, Sophie completed her Masters in Art Curatorship at The University of Melbourne. She also holds an Undergraduate degree majoring in Art History with Museum Studies from the University of Leeds (UK) and, in 2013, spent a year studying art history in Murcia, Spain. Sophie is currently working on the upcoming exhibition and publication on Australian Impressionism, scheduled for 2021.
Stephen Haley is a painter and digital media artist with an extensive national and international exhibition history. He is the recipient of many prestigious awards and grants including The Rupert Bunny Foundation Visual Arts Fellowship in 2016, an Arts Victoria Project Grant in 2012, the Australia Council for the Arts New Work Grant in 2009 and the Australia Council Overseas Studio Residency in 2006. He holds a PhD from The University of Melbourne and is also a writer and a Senior Lecturer at the Victorian College of the Arts, The University of Melbourne. His work features in numerous public institutions and private collections and he is represented by MARS Gallery, Melbourne; Lumas Galleries internationally; and Artitled Gallery in Amsterdam and Europe.
Susan van Wyk has been the Senior Curator of Photography at the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) since 2012. Since joining the Gallery in 1989, she has curated numerous exhibitions of Australian and international photography. Recent exhibitions include: Olympia: Photographs by Polixeni Papapetrou, Turning Points: Contemporary Photography from China, Alex Prager, Follow the Flag: Australian artists and war 1914-1945, Edward Steichen and Art Deco Fashion, and Thomas Demand. Susan is the author of numerous articles, catalogues and books on photography including: Olympia: Photographs by Polixeni Papapetrou, Henry Talbot: 1960s fashion photographer, No Standing Only Dancing: Photographs by Rennie Ellis, The Paris End: Photography Fashion and Glamour, and co-author of Second Sight: Australian Photography in the collection of the National Gallery of Victoria.
Dr Ted Gott is Senior Curator of International Art at the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV). He has curated and co-curated more than 25 exhibitions, including Salvador Dalí: Liquid Desire and Napoleon: Revolution to Empire. He has published widely on Australian, British and French art, and in 2013 co-authored a cultural history of the gorilla in nineteenth and twentieth century art, literature, scientific discourse and cinema (Gorilla, Reaktion Press, London).
Dr Victoria Souliman is a lecturer in French studies at the University of New England, Australia. She completed her PhD in Art History at the University of Sydney and Université Paris Diderot – Paris 7 in 2019. Her research focuses on issues of national identity, expatriatism and women’s agency in the artistic exchanges between Australia, France and Britain in the early 20th century. Prior to joining UNE in 2020, she lectured in Art History at the University of Sydney.
Dr Vincent Alessi is a Senior Lecturer in Visual Arts and Art History at La Trobe University. His research interests include the life and work of Vincent van Gogh, mid-late nineteenth century European art and popular graphic illustration and Australian contemporary visual art. Vincent is also a curator, working locally and internationally.
Dr Vivien Gaston is Honorary Research Fellow at The University of Melbourne and has published widely on subjects ranging from sixteenth century Italian art and nineteenth century portraits to contemporary Australian art and design. Her reviews have appeared in Meanjin, Australian Book Review and The Age. From 2014–17 she was Australia Research Council Senior Research Associate working on British and Australian portraits, 1700–1900, in the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) Collection. She has curated five major exhibitions including The Naked Face: self-portraits at the National Gallery of Victoria, Controversy: the Power of Art at the Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery, Sublime Sea: Rapture and reality at the Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery and, opening in 2021, Hamilton Gallery 60th Anniversary Exhibition at Hamilton Gallery.