Facing the sun
The painting that symbolises the Impressionist movement
150 years ago, on 13 November 1872, Claude Monet, then a young unknown painter, painted the port of Le Havre awakening at dawn, as the sun was emerging from the mist. By means of evocative dabs, in just a few hours, Monet recreated the luminous atmosphere of the industrial port at dawn. The silhouettes of boats, the lapping of the sea, the play of sunlight illuminating the air and the water… Little did he know that this painting would change the course of art history.
Two years later, in 1874, Monet presented the painting under the name “Impression, soleil levant” (“Impression, Sunrise”) at the first exhibition of the anonymous cooperative that later became known as the Impressionist group. Monet explained the choice of title thus: “I had sent something I did in Le Havre, from my window, of the sun in the mist, with a few ships’ masts sticking up in the foreground […] I was asked for the title for the catalogue, it couldn’t really pass for a view of Le Havre. I replied: “Put impression.” People made impressionism from that, and the jokes proliferated.”
It was actually an art critic, Louis Leroy, who, wanting to make fun of Monet, would be the first to speak of Impressionism. The term would in turn be adopted by a new generation of artists who were breaking with the aesthetic codes of the day, and would spawn one of the most popular artistic movements in the world.
The representation of the sun in the arts
Added to the collections of the Marmottan Monet Museum in 1940, “Impression, Sunrise” is their star piece. And so naturally the museum, which exhibits the world’s foremost collection of works by Monet, has decided to celebrate this masterpiece’s 150th anniversary by devoting an exhibition to it from 21 September 2022 to 29 January 2023.
A homage to the sun as painted by Monet on canvas, the exhibition “Facing the Sun, a Star in the Arts” promises to show us how the sun has been represented in the arts from Antiquity to the present day. On the programme are works by Albrecht Dürer, Luca Giordano, Pierre-Paul Rubens, Claude Gellée alias “Le Lorrain”, Joseph Vernet, Mallord William Turner, Caspar David Friedrich, Gustave Courbet, Eugène Boudin, Camille Pissarro, Paul Signac, André Derain, Maurice Denis, Félix Vallotton, Laurits Tuxen, Edvard Munch, Otto Dix, Otto Freundlich, Sonia Delaunay, Vladimir Baranov-Rossiné, Joan Miró, Alexandre Calder, Otto Piene, Gérard Fromanger and Vicky Colombet.
It’s the autumn exhibition that should not be missed, no matter what. Prepare to be dazzled.
Access and contact
Days and opening hours
From 21/09/2022 to 29/01/2023, daily between 10 am and 6 pm. Last entry: 5 pm Late opening on Thursdays until 9 pm (last entry: 8 pm).
- Full price: 12 €, Reduced price: 8.50 €.