The premise for this show, “After Impressionism: Inventing Modern Art,” is a sound one: to mark art’s transitional point to Modernism as it moved from naturalism through Post-Impressionism, Expressionism, and Symbolism, all the way to Cubism and other forms of abstraction, within the time frame of 1886 (the occasion of the eighth and last Impressionist exhibition in Paris) to 1914. Eight exhibition rooms reveal with admirable clarity this development both chronologically and geographically. This layout also allows for the tastes of the crowds to be clearly revealed: it is the earlier works—of Van Gogh, Cézanne, Gauguin, and Degas—that have large groups lingering in front of them, while the later cubist and abstract pieces create some empty floor space around them.

It is a remarkable journey in...


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