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EY and 'Impressionists in London'

Whistler's Nocturne: Blue and Silver - Chelsea 1871

Future Cities Forum has enjoyed visiting Tate Britain's 'Impressionists in London' exhibition and has invited Michel Dreissen, Senior Partner, EY Transaction Advisory Services to speak at our Art Investment and Cities event in January 2018.

For over 20 years EY has been a supporter of the visual arts based on a belief that a thriving artistic and cultural environment is an integral part of a healthy community and a buoyant economy. EY's arts partnership helps Tate to realise its programme across Tate Britain and Tate Modern with support extended through corporate memberships at British Museum, National Gallery, RA, Tate Liverpool, Tate St Ives, V&A and a number of the Plus Tate partners around the country.

EY is the sponsor of this large-scale Tate Britain exhibition which tells the story of the impressionist painters who started in 1871 to flee the effects on Paris of the Franco-Prussian conflict. The previous year France had declared war on Prussia, only to lose 100,000 men in the war and witness Napoleon III deposed. A three-month siege of Paris followed and a radical popular uprising - the Paris Commune - was crushed by the French government leading to the death of 20,000 people including women and children.

'The horror and terror are still everywhere...Paris is empty and will become even emptier...Anyone would think there never were any painters and artists in Paris' wrote critic Theodore Duret to the artist Camille Pissarro in May 1871.

Thousands of French nationals sought refuge in Britain during the conflict, facing no entrance restrictions, avoiding conscription and as political exiles or 'economic migrants'. The exhibition features the artists and sculptors who came to London with its thriving art market, such as Tissot who was introduced to high society through Thomas Gibson Bowles, the then editor of Vanity Fair and Jules Dalou, a convicted Communard, who received public, aristocratic and royal commissions.

The legacy is a range of artworks that depict English landscape and London through 'foreign eyes', recording and some thought on occasion, commenting unfavourably, events in the English social calendar and the famous 'fogs' along the Thames. Monet however enthused: 'it's the fogs that give London its marvellous breadth and Oscar Wilde credited the foreign painter, Whistler with 'the invention of fogs'

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