Modern Life – France in the 19th Century

Modern Life features French 19th century art from Nationalmuseum’s collections. The exhibition charts the modern way of living that emerged during that period and how it influenced art. See works by Claude Monet, Emile Gallé, Berthe Morisot and others.

Images: Eva Bonnier, Interior of a Studio in Paris. Emile Gallé, Bowl. Édouard Manet, A Parisian Lady.

Eva Bonnier, Interior of a Studio in Paris. Emile Gallé, Bowl. Édouard Manet, A Parisian Lady. 

19 April 2012– 3 February 2013

Modern Life is part of a project where we try out new ways of presenting the collections.

Nationalmuseum’s collection of 19th-century French art is broad in scope. It contains works ranging from the classically inspired art of the Napoleonic era, via the new plein air painting, to the curvy art nouveau style in applied art and the Impressionist preoccupation with light and colour. Thanks to its variability the collection can be used to illustrate the development of society and the emergence of modern life in the 1800s.

Turbulent times

The years between the French Revolution in 1789 and the start of the First World War in 1914 were an eventful and turbulent period. Industrialization accelerated, many people moved from rural communities into the cities, citizens revolted, and democracy evolved. With these changes came new ways of looking at people and society, at the natural world and the city. All of this had an impact on art, which in turn had an impact on people and society.

Stories told

The artworks featured in the exhibition present a comprehensive survey of this tumultuous time. Subject matter touching on various contemporary issues and historical events provides a wider and deeper perspective. Painting, drawing, photography, sculpture and applied art appear side by side. Visitors can see works by artists such as Claude Monet, Emile Gallé, Edouard Manet, Berthe Morisot, August Rodin and Gustave Courbet.

French influence

In the latter part of the 19th century, many Swedish artists lived and worked in France. The exhibition therefore also features a number of works produced by Swedish artists in locations such as Gréz-sur-Loing, Paris and the Normandy coast.

More about Modern Life

A selection of objects included in the exhibition are presented.  


See videoclips about The City and The Countryside on Youtube.


Follow the exhibition on Twitter In Swedish.


Here you can take a look in the catalogue published in conjunction with the exhibition. Download as PDF file, free of charge. You can also buy the catalogue from our online Bookshop or in the Museum Store. Price: 119 SEK (ordinary price 149 SEK)

 pdf-icon Exhibition Catalogue, pdf (16M)

Order the catalogue from the online Bookshop


Art Library and Museum Archives,
Holmamiralens väg 2,
Skeppsholmen, Stockholm 

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