Lecture: Manet, Monet, Caillebotte and The Gare Saint-Lazare

Mary Morton, Curator and Head of the Department of French Paintings, National Gallery of Art
December 6, 2014

The newly built and largest, busiest railway station in Paris, the Gare Saint-Lazare, attracted the attention of three avant-garde painters in the 1870s. Édouard Manet exhibited his enigmatic composition The Railway at the Paris Salon in 1873, in which the presence of the station is suggested by the rail yard glimpsed through the steam of a just-passed engine. At the 1877 Impressionist exhibition, Gustave Caillebotte exhibited a large-scale composition of the extraordinary bridge that spanned Saint-Lazare’s rail yard, and Claude Monet showed a series of views from inside the station’s stunning span of glass and iron. Morton compares these artists’ compelling depictions of an iconic landmark of "modern" Paris.

Presented in conjunction with Manet's "The Railway" on Loan from the National Gallery of Art, Washington