Impressionists in London review – how not to tell the origin story of modern art

By Jonathan Jones

Tate Britain, London
This pea souper of a show nearly achieves the impossible feat of making Monet seem dull, while illuminating little about British links to impressionism

This exhibition turns art history on its head. For more than a century it has been assumed that modern art began in Paris. We've heard so much about how the bohemian atmosphere of the French capital, with its druggy poets and dirty novels, inspired the impressionists.

Now Tate Britain shows that it was the smog of Victorian London and not the lights of Paris that inspired Claude Monet and his contemporaries. In a very important sense, the most French of all art movements turns out to be British.

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