Our Collection

French 19th Century

Southampton’s collection of French painting traces the increasing interest in naturalism and the development of Impressionism during the second half of the 19th century. Corot’s move from classically-inspired landscapes to more intimate scenes based on studies made outdoors was taken a step further by the Impressionists who completed entire pictures on the spot in order to capture fleeting effects of light and weather. They also rejected the fashion for precise, realistic paintings of historical subjects for scenes of contemporary life. Their efforts initially drew ridicule from French art critics but Impressionism was to prove one of the most influential art movements of modern times.
The collection includes important paintings by Sisley, Renoir and Forain and Monet’s masterpiece The Church at Vétheuil.