Albright-Knox presents tour through Impressionism and beyond

The first painting that catches your eye in “Monet and the Impressionist Revolution,” the Albright-Knox Art Gallery‘s savvy and eye-opening glimpse into the dawn of modernism, is a stunner.

La Source de la Loue,” an imposing 1864 oil by Gustave Courbet, depicts nothing more remarkable than the dark grotto from which the Loue River emerges to begin its serpentine course through eastern France. There are no lounging figures, no showy displays of Renaissance techniques, no gauzy afternoon light and very little context: Just the opening of a foreboding cave whose contents are shrouded in darkness, prompting viewer after viewer to peer into the painting as if it were a three-dimensional space masquerading as a flat surface.

What sort of magic and mystery emerged from Courbet’s cave? Nothing short of the modernist impulse itself, which receives a thorough and engaging treatment in this collection-focused show conceived by Albright-Knox Director Janne Sirén and organized by curator Holly E. Hughes.

Gustave Courbet’s “La Source de

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