I am an art lover and love to spend my time in museums. As a French person who was often exposed to world-class art growing up, I am really grateful for the rich collections that can be found everywhere in America. On Thursday, January 13 we are offering an art talk focusing on the French Impressionists and the Seine River. If you are inspired to see some of these works in real life, today I am sharing a non-exhaustive list of the best places to see Impressionist works in Massachusetts.

Museum of Fine Arts / MFA

We could not have started our museum stroll without the Museum of Fine Arts (MFA). The MFA contains the most spectacular collection of French Impressionists in New England. It is ranked 15th in the top 25 most amazing collections of Impressionist painting and sculpture according to Best Liberal Art Colleges.org. One of the most visited rooms in the museum, the Impressionist gallery, features 33 paintings and six sculptures. Devoted to avant-garde artists working in France between1870 and 1900, the gallery features the achievements of Claude Monet (ten paintings), Edgar Degas (six paintings, two sculptures), Pierre-Auguste Renoir (six paintings, two sculptures) and Vincent van Gogh (three paintings) who is not French but who is part of the movement and has spent many years in France. A selection of the MFA’s most iconic paintings is on view in the gallery, including Renoir’s Dance at Bougival (1883), Van Gogh’s The Postman Joseph Roulin (1888) and Monet’s Water Lilies (1907).
My favorite one is La Japonaise from Claude Monet. I like the poetry and l’invitation au voyage that can be found in this work. Monet's wife face is smiling with such intensity that it makes me happy too.

Harvard Art Museums / Fogg Museum

The Harvard Art Museums is composed of three sub-museums; the oldest and best-loved being the Fogg, which houses a rich display of paintings and sculptures that you really must see. The Maurice Wertheim collection displays Impressionist and Post-impressionist works by Cézanne, Degas, Picasso, Manet, Monet, Van Gogh, and Matisse. The Fogg Museum is also ranked in the top 25 most amazing collections of Impressionist painting and sculpture.
It is my favorite museum in Greater Boston for the quality of its collections. Because of the different mediums, time periods, locations, and nationalities that are represented I feel like I am almost able to travel back in time and to better understand what life could have been at a particular period. I also like the design of the building itself.


Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

As you might know, one of the biggest art thefts in history took place at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum where some works by French Impressionists such as Edouard Manet (Chez Tortoni ) and Edgar Degas (Leaving the Paddock) were stolen. Even so, you can still admire some of the Impressionist works among the dense collection. Isabella Stewart was enamored by these artists and acquired portraits by Degas and Manet. In 1906 she visited Claude Monet at Giverny, a trip she found “perfect in every way.”
Don’t miss a visit during the spring, in my opinion the best time of the year to enjoy the amazing courtyard.

Clark Art Institute

The two Clark brothers built this incredible art collection located in the Berkshires of Western Massachusetts. Sterling, who lived in Paris for a while, brought back home paintings from some of the most well-known Impressionists. You will be able to admire some works by Edgar Degas, Berthe Morisot, Claude Monet, Camille Pissaro, Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Edouard Manet. After the museum visit don’t forget to try one of the trails that start at the museum and lead you through bucolic hikes.
The Clark Art Institute combines two of my favorite activities: art and country hikes. What a treat!

Which is your favorite place to go when you want to dive into the beauty of nature as painted by the Impressionists?


Clémence Bary-Boloré

Cultural Programs Manager / Office Manager

Clémence has a Master’s degree in Cultural Projects Management. She worked in Paris for several years for theater companies. She likes discovering new cultures, people and places, which is why she crossed the ocean to start a new experience in Boston. She is glad to be part of the French Library to promote French culture and language. In her free time, she enjoys cooking, hiking, kayaking and all forms of art!

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