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Walker is new home for Impressionist masterpieces

Two works by French Impressionist masters Claude Monet and Edgar Degas are going on show at the Walker Art Gallery from this weekend.

Monet’s The Epte in Giverny and Degas’ Modiste Decorating a Hat have been acquired by National Museums Liverpool through the Government’s Acceptance in Lieu scheme.

The scheme allows people who have Inheritance Tax bills to pay to transfer important works of art and heritage objects into public ownership which are then allocated to museums, archives or libraries for people to enjoy.

Both the Monet and Degas artworks come from the collection of Mary Elliot-Blake (1904-1996) and have been owned by the Montagu family by descent. Due to the family's connection to Liverpool, the paintings were allocated to the Walker.

They will be put on show in the Walker’s Room 10 - which features Impressionist and Post-Impressionist art - from Saturday.

The Epte in Giverny, painted in 1884, presents a vibrant, leafy scene in the village in Normandy where the artist painted his famous water lily series.

It also acts as a contrast to Monet’s Break-up of the ice on the Seine, near Bennecourt (1893) which depicts a wintery landscape and is one of the most recognisable paintings in the Walker’s existing collection.

Above: Claude Monet's The Epte in Giverny (1884). Top: Edgar Degas' Modiste Decorating a Hat (1891-95)

Meanwhile Degas’ Modiste Decorating a Hat (1891-95) depicts a milliner adjusting a hat in a shop window.

It joins another work by Degas in the Walker’s collection, Woman Ironing, which is currently on loan. Together, they reflect the Paris-born artist’s interest in showing women at work.

Kate O’Donoghue, Curator of International Fine Art at National Museums Liverpool, said: “Claude Monet’s landscapes and Edgar Degas’ scenes of everyday life epitomise the Impressionist movement and it’s difficult to overstate quite how special it is to obtain these new works by two of Europe’s most famous artists.  

“The artworks will sit alongside works by artists such as Paul Cézanne and Henri Matisse, helping us to tell the story of Impressionism and Post-Impressionism in a way that will no doubt inspire visitors for many years to come.”


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