Neo-Impressionism—one of the innovative art movements that propelled painting into the 20th century—is revisited by this exhibition through a chronological exploration of the first nearly twenty years that followed its emergence in 1886 at the Eighth Impressionist Exhibition. Where the Impressionists had ushered in a new style of painting to capture the natural world as it appeared to their eyes, vividly evoking shifting images such as rippling water and the play of sunlight, the Neo-Impressionists branched out by bringing in the latest knowledge in optics and color theory. At the same time, they shifted the emphasis away from faithfully re-creating the world to tapping into the power of expression of the colors themselves, and in so doing they set the stage for the advent of Fauvism at the dawn of the 20th century.
The journey taken by this exhibition begins with Impressionist paintings by Monet, and then progresses to the early Neo-Impressionism of artists such as Seurat and Signac, the diverse Impressionist works that subsequently streamed forth in France and Belgium, and finally the brilliant hues put to canvas by Matisse and Derain. All together, some 100 works are brought together from across the globe to trace the fascinating transition from Seurat’s diminutive, subdued dots of paint to the bold, dynamic colors of Matisse.