Opening tomorrow at the National Galleries of Scotland (NGS), Inspiring Impressionism: Daubigny, Monet, Van Gogh is set to be one of the highlights of this year’s Edinburgh Festivals.

The first major exhibition dedicated to the artist Charles François Daubigny, the show is the result of a four-year partnership between NGS, the Taft Museum (Cincinnati, USA) and Van Gogh Museum (Amsterdam, The Netherlands).

Lead Curator is Dr Frances Fowle, Reader and International Director at Edinburgh College of Art (ECA) and Senior Curator at the Scottish National Gallery.

In our short film, she talks to Anahit Behrooz (a PhD student at the University of Edinburgh) about what’s involved in bringing together such a large-scale, collaborative, touring exhibition, and hears about Anahit’s experiences as an intern working on provenance-checking the show's loaned works. 

An immersive audience experience

The concept for Inspiring Impressionism first took shape in summer 2012, after which the team’s attention turned to securing the loan of key paintings and preparing the catalogue.

One time-consuming aspect of the curation process has been co-ordinating the production of the show’s major innovation, a full-scale reconstruction of Daubigny's floating studio boat - known as "Le Botin" - based on the artist’s etchings.

Fitted out with two screens (one showing a view of the river, the other an emerging painting of the scene), the locally-made boat also features the sounds and smells of the ‘plein air’ studio environment, providing “a totally immersive experience for the audience”.

The exhibition shows Daubigny's work alongside that of some of the artists he influenced, including paintings by Claude Monet, Vincent Van Gogh, Camille Pissarro and Alfred Sisley. 

Frances Fowle - from PhD alumnus to International Director

Frances Fowle gained her PhD at the University of Edinburgh in 1994.

She specialises in French and British (especially Scottish) nineteenth-century art, with an emphasis on collecting, the art market, national identity, cultural revival and artistic networks.

She has previously collaborated with Terra Foundation curator, Katherine Bourguignon, on American Impressionism: A New Vision, the Edinburgh Festivals’ major show of 2014, and most recently curated the 'Celtic revival' section of Celts: Art and Identity at the British Museum, London, and the National Museums of Scotland, Edinburgh.

In addition to her role as International Director at ECA, Frances teaches on our History of Art - MA (Hons) programme and supervises a number of MPhil/PhD/MSc by Research students.

Inspiring Impressionism is at the Scottish National Gallery until 2nd October 2016.