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Watch National Gallery London Documentaries online: Episode 1 Americans in Paris: 1860-1900

Paris was the centre of the art world in the nineteenth century and for American artists, its lure was irresistible. They flocked there in their thousands, eager to establish their artistic credentials. As their letters home prove, initial impressions of Paris were overwhelming: the light, the noise, the smells, the contrasts. Theatres, cafs, gardens and boulevards provided rich subject matter for these painters, as did their fellow artists, often portrayed as the elegantly dressed flneur (dandy), or as the bohemian, studiedly careless in appearance. This fascinating film, much of it shot on location, captures the excitement that Paris conveyed to its American visitors, and provides a vivid sense of what American artists retained of their experience, and brought back with them to America.

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