July 23, 2021
4 minute read

Monet To Matisse Masterworks of French Impressionism from the Dixon Gallery and Gardens

Alfred Sisley (French, 1839–1899), The Loing at Saint-Mammès, ca. 1880. Oil on canvas, 15 x 22 inches. Dixon Gallery and Gardens; Gift of Montgomery H. W. Ritchie, 1996.2.15

The Crocker Art Museum is pleased to announce Monet to Matisse: Masterworks of French Impressionism from the Dixon Galleries and Gardens, featuring 50 works by some of the most well-known artists of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, on view from October 3, 2021 through January 9, 2022.

The exhibition boasts significant works of art by the most dynamic artists to work in this period in France, including Claude Monet, Auguste Rodin, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Paul Cézanne, and Henri Matisse. From plein-air landscapes to scenes of modern life in Paris, the exhibition illustrates the radical innovations launched by artists we know today as Impressionists and Post-Impressionists.

Georges Hausmann's transformation of the French capital from a chaotic web of medieval streets to a more orderly system of wide, tree-lined boulevards coincided with a bustling energy in Paris's many cafés and parks. Keenly observing the new world around them, a group of artists dedicated themselves to "painting modern life" on location to capture a quick impression of a particular moment in nature. Ultimately known as the Impressionists, the artists organized eight exhibitions between 1874 and 1886, changing the course of art history and revolutionizing the way art was viewed in Paris and, eventually, around the world.

The term "Impressionism" was coined by the artist and art critic Louis Leroy, when he witnessed the first of these exhibitions. Focusing on Claude Monet's painting Impression: Sunrise, he reacted to its seemingly unfinished, hazy evocation of the sun reflected on the sea, finding it the epitome of a type of art he disliked. The artists themselves soon embraced the term, branding themselves "Impressionists."

Following these artists, a second generation of younger painters pushed the limits even further. Later known as the Post-Impressionists, they embraced new subjects, invented new pictorial structures, and applied color theory in unexpected ways. These remarkable painters in turn set the course of Western art in new directions and laid the groundwork for generations to come, including artists working today.

"We are delighted to be able to share this important exhibition of Impressionist art with the public,” notes the Crocker Art Museum's Mort and Marcy Friedman Director, Lial A. Jones. “Showing a panorama of French art from the Realists through the Impressionists and Post-Impressionists to the early 20th century, the show gives a deeper understanding of this critical period in the history of art."

Claude Monet (French, 1840–1926), Port of Dieppe, Evening, 1882. Oil on canvas, 23 x 28 3/8 inches. Dixon Gallery and Gardens; Gift of Montgomery H. W. Ritchie, 1996.2.7

A catalogue of the Dixon's collection, including a selection of the paintings in the exhibition, is available for purchase in the Crocker Museum Store.


Crocker members and visitors will have many opportunities to bring Monet to Matisse to life through a variety of studio classes, events, and public programs. Additional information on each event will be available at

Studio Classes

  • Painting Series: Impressionism to the 20th Century (three part series taking place in October and November)

  • Beginning Drawing and Composition (September-October)

Art History Classes

  • History of Impressionism (10/17 and 10/24)

  • Master in the Spotlight: Claude Monet (12/5)

Events and Programs

  • Classical Concert Series: Tien Hsieh, Pianist (10/10)

  • The Official Rogue Book Club: Mad Enchantment: Claude Monet and the Painting of the Water Lilies (10/14)

  • Baby Loves Art (10/16)

  • Teacher2Teacher Arts Integrated Workshop Series (10/21)

  • Art on Film: Miss Hokusai (10/24)

  • ArtInteractive LIVE! (10/7)

  • Gallery Bytes: Monet to Matisse (12/21)

  • Art Cart: Café Society (Sundays in December)

  • Art Cart: Color (Saturdays in December)

The Crocker brings people together and connects them in unexpected ways with art, ideas, each other and the world around them. Founded as a public/private partnership in 1885, the Crocker features the world’s foremost display of California art and is renowned for its holdings of master drawings and international ceramics, as well as European, Asian, African, and Oceanic art. The Crocker serves as the primary regional resource for the study and appreciation of fine art and offers a diverse spectrum of exhibitions, events, and programs to deepen visitors' understanding of art, including films, concerts, studio classes, lectures, and an array of activities for families and children. More information about exhibits and programs can be found at

Monet to Matisse: Masterworks of French Impressionism from the Dixon Galleries and Gardens is organized by the Dixon Galleries and Gardens, Memphis. This exhibition was made possible with support from Presenting Sponsor Murphy Austin Adams Schoenfeld LLP.