Unlikely Couples – Impressionism Without a Pedestal

Why have Impressionist pictures accrued such inconceivable value over the past years and decades? Why are they always aesthetically presented and received in exhibitions as what one might describe as a balm of well-being for the public at large? Why is it that, today, one is barely aware of what was, at the time, the highly remarkable banality of the pictures’ subjects? Unlikely Couples is an exhibition based on a brave thesis that dares to critically question the «reverence» for Impressionist pictures (and its monetary motives.)

Seven outstanding French Impressionist artworks from the Museum Langmatt collection have sought out new lovers. However, these masterpieces did not choose other masterpieces, or works of contemporary art, but everyday objects furnished by Langmatt, «underdogs» from the cellar: The Church of Moret (1893) by Alfred Sisley encounters old iron railings, Autumn in Eragny (1899) by Camille Pissarro encounters a set of shelves featuring dried-in paint from a wide variety of Langmatt rooms, Trees and Rocks in the Park of the Château Noir (circa 1904) by Paul Cézanne encounters historic wine racks, enormous and with a volume more like cages and The Boat (circa 1878) by Pierre-Auguste Renoir is surrounded by historic chandeliers that are packed in paper and suspended from the ceiling.

A delicate visual and/or contentual thread connects the unusual pairs, which, playfully and not without humour, rattle firmly cemented notions of the masterpiece as something absolute and incontrovertible, question fixed values and perception mechanisms, and open up new ways of looking at long-familiar artworks.


Main picture: Exhibition view Unlikely Couples



Saturday, 3rd March, 17.00

Wednesday, 7th March, 12.15
A tour of the exhibition with Markus Stegmann, director of the Museum Langmatt.

Thursday, 15th March, 18.30
A discussion on the theme: Impressionism: Between Record Prices and Balm for the Soul.

Wednesday, 4th April, 12.15
A tour of the exhibition with Daniela Minneboo.

Opening times and tickets

Tues.–Fri. 14.00–17.00
Sat./Sun. 11.00–17.00
Young people under 18: free admission
Standard price of admission:CHF 12.-
Reduced price of admission:CHF 10.-
Standard price for event attendance:CHF 15.-
Reduced price for event attendance:CHF 12.-