This New Art Exhibition Brings A Taste Of Paris To Regional Victoria

Bendigo Art Gallery’s latest exhibition, Paris: Impressions of Life 1880–1925 will transport you back in time to the historic streets of Paris.

The regional Victorian gallery has teamed up with Musée Carnavalet – Histoire de Paris — the oldest municipal museum in Paris — to bring more than 170 works from its rich cultural collection to Australian soil for the very first time.

‘It means a lot to our team to work with such an expansive established institution with over 600,000 objects in their collection, some of which date back to the mid-16th Century,’ says Bendigo Art Gallery director Jessica Bridgfoot.

The showcase features paintings, graphic posters, artisanal signs, and everyday artefacts like menus and souvenirs that each tell stories of Parisian life from the end of the 19th to the 20th century.

Bendigo Art Gallery curator Clare Needham says this was a defining era of urban development, social change and radical shifts in art, design, and fashion, that significantly shaped the city as we know it.

Everything from the busy banks of the Seine, bustling marketplaces, grand boulevards, idyllic public gardens, and the heady atmosphere of bohemian Montmartre are brought to life across seven pathways within the gallery.

‘The themed pathways are designed to create the feeling of a journey through the streets of Paris,’ Clare adds. ‘I think visitors will also be surprised by how colourful the exhibition is.’

‘Historical subjects are often associated with sepia tones and faded patinas, but the artworks and objects in the exhibition are radiant, illustrating the vibrancy of Paris at this time, adorned with colourful advertising posters and lit with gas and electrical lighting.’

In addition to significant paintings by artists like Jean Béraud, Maurice Utrillo and Paul Signac, the exhibition includes historic newsreel footage from the Gaumont Pathé Archive and a custom soundtrack that emulates the city’s streetscape for an immersive experience.

Plus, you can even explore some French couture from the collection of the National Gallery of Victoria and National Gallery of Australia.

The exhibition is also exclusive to Bendigo Art Gallery, so whether you’re a certified Francophile, or still dreaming of your first visit to Paris, it’s well worth the roadtrip!

Paris: Impressions of Life 1880–1925 is on at Bendigo Art Gallery until July 14. Get your tickets here.

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