Impressionists on Paper: Unveiling the Radical Works of Van Gogh, Degas, and Cézanne

London’s Royal Academy of Arts showcases a groundbreaking exhibition that explores the revolutionary works on paper by Impressionist artists.

London’s Royal Academy of Arts is hosting a one-of-a-kind exhibition that celebrates the world’s greatest artists, including Van Gogh, Degas, and Cézanne. While their paintings are widely recognized, it is their radical and lesser-known works on paper that take center stage in this groundbreaking show. The exhibition sheds light on how these masters brought a new prestige to artworks created on paper, challenging traditional notions of artistic value and showcasing the transformative impact of technological advancements.

The Changing Status of Works on Paper:

During the last three decades of the 19th century, particularly in Paris, works on paper underwent a significant transformation in status. Previously seen primarily as preparatory sketches for paintings, artists began to recognize the inherent value and completeness of drawings and other works on paper. Ann Dumas, the exhibition’s curator, explains that these artists understood the worth of creating a drawing or work on paper that could stand alone as a significant piece of art.

The Delicate Treasures on Display:

The exhibition features a remarkable collection of 77 delicate works on paper, many of which are rarely seen due to their sensitivity to light. Among the celebrated artists included are Renoir, Degas, Manet, Monet, Van Gogh, and Toulouse-Lautrec. The display offers a unique opportunity to appreciate the lesser-known works of these iconic figures, showcasing their mastery of various mediums and techniques.

Highlighting the Enduring Popularity of Impressionism:

The exhibition not only showcases the radical nature of works on paper but also highlights the enduring popularity of Impressionism. It traces the movement’s emergence in the late 19th century and its influence on the early 20th century. Visitors can marvel at Georges Seurat’s preparatory work for his renowned painting “Bathers at Asnières” and enjoy several of Degas’ iconic ballet dancer works, such as “Dancers on a Bench.” The exhibition also sheds light on female Impressionist artists like Eva Gonzales, who have often been overlooked in favor of their male counterparts.

Revealing New Insights:

“Impressionists on Paper: Degas to Toulouse-Lautrec” offers a fresh perspective on the Impressionist and Post-Impressionist movements. It reveals how advancements in materials, such as new ways of making pastels, watercolors, and paper, enabled artists to work en plein air, capturing the essence of their surroundings. The exhibition not only showcases the technical innovation of these artists but also provides a deeper understanding of their creative processes and the context in which they worked.


The exhibition at London’s Royal Academy of Arts presents a rare opportunity to explore the radical works on paper by renowned Impressionist artists. By delving into the transformative impact of these lesser-known pieces, the show challenges traditional notions of artistic value and sheds light on the enduring popularity of Impressionism. Through a diverse collection of delicate treasures, visitors can gain new insights into the artistic processes and innovations of Van Gogh, Degas, Cézanne, and their contemporaries. “Impressionists on Paper: Degas to Toulouse-Lautrec” is a must-see exhibition that offers a fresh perspective on the masters of the Impressionist movement.






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