monet normandy train

Claude Monet, Arrival of the Normandy Train, Gare Saint-Lazare, 1877. Oil on canvas, 60.3 x 80.2 cm. Art Institute of Chicago, Mr. and Mrs. Martin A. Ryerson Collection, 1933.1158.  Image © Art Institute of Chicago/ Art Resource, NY.

Impressionism in the Age of Industry: Monet, Pissarro and more

February 16 – May 5, 2019

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More Hours to Welcome You! Thanks to RBC, the exhibition will stay open until 9 pm from May 1 to 4.


Pulsing with life, Paris in the 1870s was transforming – thanks to wider streets, increased traffic, an explosion of factories in the suburbs and faster, more frequent steam-powered trains. No one in France was immune to the rapid pace of change, least of all artists.

Impressionism in the Age of Industry: Monet, Pissarro and more explores how French Impressionist artists and their contemporaries, famous for their lush landscapes and sea vistas, were equally obsessed with capturing the spirit of the industrial age. The groundbreaking exhibition features over 120 artworks, including paintings, photographs, prints, drawings, sculptures and period films.

With masterpieces by beloved artists like Monet, Pissarro, Degas, Van Gogh, Cassatt and Seurat, the exhibition also highlights new favourites like Luce and Caillebotte.

The exhibition is curated by Dr. Caroline Shields, AGO Assistant Curator, European Art. “This exhibition invites us to journey through this period of immense change, experiencing its thrills and challenges alongside the artists. As our cities and technologies rapidly change, it’s a journey that continues to resonate today,” Dr. Shields says. “Seeing these works together for the first time provides an incredibly rich addition to the story of Impressionism as we know it.”

Impressionism in the Age of Industry: Monet, Pissarro and more is organized by the Art Gallery of Ontario.

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van gogh painting of factories

Vincent van Gogh, Factories at Clichy, 1887. Oil on canvas, Overall: 53.7 x 72.7 cm; Framed: 81.3 x 101.3 cm. St. Louis Art Museum, Funds given by Mrs. Mark C. Steinberg by exchange value. Image courtesy Saint Louis Art Museum.

Van Gogh factories
Le pont Boieldieu à Rouen, temps mouillé by Camille Pissarro

Camille Pissarro, Le pont Boieldieu à Rouen, temps mouillé, 1896. Oil on canvas, 73.6 x 91.4 cm. Gift of Reuben Wells Leonard Estate, 1937. © 2018 Art Gallery of Ontario

Pissarro Le pont Boieldieu à Rouen
A painting of the eiffel tower by seurat

Georges Seurat, Eiffel Tower, c. 1889. Oil on panel, 24.1 x 15.2 cm. Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, museum purchase, William H. Noble Bequest Fund 1979.

Seurat Eiffel Tower
a building

Édouard Baldus, Toulon, after 1861. Albumen print from glass plate negative, Overall: 31.8 x 43.5 cm; Mat: 55.9 x 71.1 cm. Gift in memory of Alkis Klondaridis, 2013. © Art Gallery of Ontario.

baldous toulon
a painting of a woman ironing

Edgar Degas, Woman Ironing, c. 1876–1887. Oil on canvas, Overall: 81.3 x 66 cm; Framed: 99 x 82.5 cm. National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC. Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon. 1972.74.1.

degas woman ironing
Les Batteurs de pieux, le chantier by Maximilian Luce

Maximilian Luce, Les Batteurs de pieux, le chantier, 1900. Oil on canvas, 73.4 x 92.2 cm. Gift from the Estate of R. Fraser Elliott, 2005. © 2018 Art Gallery of Ontario

Maximilian Luce Les Batteurs de pieux
a photograph of the construction of the paris opera

Hyacinthe César Delmaet, View of Auditorium Floor from Stage (Paris Opera), May 10, 1865. Albumen print, Mat: 71.1 x 55.9 cm. Gift of Robert G. Hill, in honour of Maia-Mari Sutnik, Founding Curator of Photography, Art Gallery of Ontario, 2018. 

delamet auditorium floor

Gustave Caillebotte

Le Pont de L'Europe

Claude Ghez, President of the Petit Palais in Geneva and the owner of the painting Le Pont de L'Europe by Gustave Caillebotte, conducted the research that’s presented here in the video. Ghez and his team documented the original architectural structure and found that the artist combined three different views in a single composition, making the bridge look far more towering than it really was.

According to Ghez’s research, Caillebotte was horrified by the experience of the Franco-Prussian War, and he channeled those emotions into this painting. Major battles occurred on this bridge, and the distant figure in the blue and red uniform is a soldier. The distorted perspective invokes the anxious tension of the modern city. This artwork was painted before the Eiffel Tower was built, so the mass of iron shown here would have raised memories of war rather than visions of progress. It shows that compositional choices can hold many layers of meaning.

Watch the Video


PAST EVENTS - accordion


Ian Gillespie: The Power of Architecture to Inspire
Friday May 17, 2019, 7 pm

At its best, architecture can be a force for activating cities, shaping public space and reenergizing cultures.

The Liveable City? Leisure
Wednesday April 24, 2019, 7 PM

As Impressionism in the Age of Industry takes viewers on a journey through a period of immense ch

Sold Out
The Liveable City? Transportation
Wednesday April 17, 2019, 7 PM

As Impressionism in the Age of Industry takes viewers on a journey through a period of immense ch

The Liveable City? Work
Friday April 5, 2019, 7 PM

As Impressionism in the Age of Industry takes viewers on a journey through a period of immense ch

Sold Out
The Liveable City? Housing
Wednesday April 3, 2019, 7 PM

AGO Next
Exclusive: Impressionism in the Age of Industry
March 26, 2019

AGO Next is a dynamic membership program for art lovers under 40.

Sold Out
Curator’s Talk: Impressionism in the Age of Industry
Wednesday March 20, 7 PM

Join Caroline Shields, AGO Assistant Curator, European Art for a talk exploring her major new exhibition

Family Events
Family Sundays, March: Building Bridges
March 3, 24, 31, 2019, 1 - 4pm

We’re building bridges- all shapes and sizes using all kinds of materials. Use your most imaginative ingenuity to make the coolest bridge ever!  

Curators' Circle
Exclusive: Impressionism in the Age of Industry: Monet, Pissarro and more
Tuesday, February 26

French avant-garde artists of the late 19th century were enthralled by the modernity of industry and technology, and they captured their changing world in art.

Member Exclusive
Members' Preview: Impressionism in the Age of Industry
February 12, 13, 14 & 15

AGO Members are invited to join us at our exclusive Members’ Preview for Impressionism in the Age of Indu


This generously illustrated book examines the relationship between 19th-century Impressionism and industry in Europe.

The late-19th century was a time of new technology, industry, and modernity. People were enthralled with their changing world and artists were not an exception. Fascinated by progress in every form, artists depicted factories, trains, and construction sites. Artists such as Claude Monet, Edgar Degas, Vincent van Gogh, and Camille Pissarro began to paint the world around them, from laundresses in the basements of Paris to rural laborers in fields. This book focuses on how Impressionist artists engaged and treated the topic of industry in their art. Chapters discuss how Paris was transformed into a bustling, modern city, the role of women in labor, and the demographic shift from rural to urban centers. Paintings, drawings, and prints, along with archival photographs help to illustrate this rich and complicated moment in art history.


Impressionism in the Age of Industry catalogue cover
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