Monet’s Water Lilies. Symbols of Power: Napoleon and the Art of the Empire Style, 1800-1815. Vincent Van Gogh and the Painters of the Petit Boulevard. Angels from the Vatican: The Invisible Made Visible. In the past 15 years or so, the Saint Louis Art Museum has presented a succession of top-notch exhibitions that have catapulted the institution, as well as our fair city, to join the ranks of other world-class cultural destinations.

Add another one to the list: Impressionist France, a major groundbreaking international exhibit, represents a critical period in the history of French art—the high point of Impressionism and the Golden Age of photography. It took more than six years for curators Simon Kelly and April Watson to assemble the 120 paintings and photographs currently on display through July 6.

If you’re like me and get weak-kneed and starry-eyed at the sight of a Monet, a Pissarro or a Manet, this exhibition is quite the treat! For more on Impressionist France, turn to our cover story on p. 20.