Its no surprise that Claude Monet found inspiration in the forest of Fontainebleau just outside Paris. The lush greenery has been known as a refuge from the bustling city for more than 200 years. Paintings of the areas landscape are the focus of In the Forest of Fontainebleau Painters and Photographers from Corot to Monet, an extensive exhibit that includes works by three generations of artists inspired by the forest. During the 1820s and 30s, artists of the romantic period like Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot and Jules Coignet found sanctuary here. They were followed by Théodore Rousseau, Jean-François Millet and others categorized as the Barbizon painters, who took the art of landscape in a new direction, setting the scene for young artists who would eventually become the Impressionists, like Monet, Frédéric Bazille and Alfred Sisley. (By the time Monet and his friends were in Fontainebleau, throngs of tourists were also there. Their presence was a double-edged sword for the artists, since the tourists disturbed the areas tranquility but also bought the artists works.)
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The focus of the exhibit is on the paintings, but the exhibit also includes photography by Eugène Cuvelier, John B. Green and Gustave LeGray, who came in the latter half of the 19th century, giving viewers still another look at the area. Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Audrey Jones Beck Building, 5601 Main. 12:15 to 7 p.m. Sundays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursdays, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. Through October 19. For information, call 713-639-7300 or visit www.mfah.org. $6 to $7.
Tuesdays-Sundays. Starts: July 13. Continues through Oct. 19, 2008