Masters of Impression - Palm Springs Desert Museum unveils six paintings by European masters.

Parisian traditionalists once shunned Impressionism — the bright and liberating, albeit short-lived, style born in the mid-1860s. The movement had a rippling and enduring impact in the art world. Purists, however, cringed at the colorful palettes and spontaneously painted canvases of Claude Monet and Pierre-Auguste Renoir, who used to set up along the Seine and Oise and paint the countryside. By 1869, when they painted at La Grenouillere, an open-air café near Bougival, Impressionism had begun to define itself.

From mid-June through August, Palm Springs Desert Museum will exhibit six examples of master works — one each by Monet, Renoir, Edouard Manet, Vincent Van Gogh, Edgar Degas, and Henri Matisse — courtesy of an anonymous donor.

Perhaps the most identifiable is Danseuses Pres D’Un Portant (c. 1888), one of Degas’ famous dancers, which he painted in a studio with controlled lighting (unlike his contemporaries, who preferred to paint en plein air, or outdoors). Renoir, famous for his graceful portraits of women, is represented with the bold Portrait D’Edmond Maitre [Le Liseur] (1871), a male figure.

Matisse’s still-life entry, Nature Morte, Serviette A Carreaux (1903), reflects the distorted shapes associated with the Fauvist movement he championed, while another still life, Manet’s Bouquet de Fleurs (1882), contrasts light and dark and warm and cool colors.

Monet’s Le Repos Dans Le Jardin, Argenteuil (1876), and Van Gogh’s La Moisson En Provence (1888) deal with the Provence countryside.

Palm Springs Desert Museum, 101 Museum Drive, Palm Springs, (760) 325-0189

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