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Close your eyes or pull the shutters ... and imagine. The “Electric Nights” at the Museum of Modern Art in Le Havre, in the north of France, shows how the appearance of artificial lighting revolutionized painting. A theme so far unexplored. </p><div> <p>A street lamp on <em>The Grands Boulevards</em> by Auguste Renoir, an illuminated Eiffel Tower in the <em>Nocturnal enchantment</em> by Maxime Maufra, a prostitute in a ray of light on an etching by Steinlen ...
Between 1850 and the First World War, artificial light lent itself to all kinds of daring. The night is not uniform, explains Annette Haudiquet, the director of MuMa:
« It exists alongside gas lighting which is becoming widespread. In the second half of the 19th century, there were the first experiments with electric lighting. And these two light sources generate different atmospheres. And then, the night is still dark in some parts of the city. »
“The first modern nocturnal”
Jewel of these Electric nights, an exceptional painting by Monet, The Port of Le Havre, night effect, from 1873, rarely loaned, ” the first modern nocturnal », Remarks Annette Haudiquet.
« Modern night is truly the illuminated night, the night that continues to work. It is an almost abstract work, almost monochrome, with very dark blues, enhanced by a few points of blue, yellow, white light. »
At the end of the exhibition, neon lights dazzle Place Pigalle in a painting by Van Dongen. Light is everywhere. The night is gone.
</div><p class="rteleft"><em>► Electric nights</em>, at the museum of modern art in Le Havre (MuMa), until November 1st.</p> </div>