Enfilade

Exhibition: Royalists to Romantics

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions, Member News by ashleyhannebrink on February 1, 2012

The following exhibition soon opens at the National Museum of Women in the Arts (in conjunction, artist-in-residence Celia Reyer will be creating a Brunswick traveling coat inspired by 18th-century fashion). -AH

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Royalists to Romantics: Women Artists from the
Louvre, Versailles, and Other French National Collections
National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, D.C., 24 February — 29 July 2012

Rose Adélaïde Ducreux, "Portrait of the Artist," ca. 1799 (Rouen: Musée des beaux-arts)

In keeping with its mission to rediscover and celebrate women artists of the past and demonstrate their continued relevance, the National Museum of Women in Arts (NMWA) presents Royalists to Romantics: Women Artists from the Louvre, Versailles, and Other French National Collections. The exhibition features 77 paintings, prints, and sculptures dating from 1750 to 1850—many of which have never been seen outside of France. To develop the exhibition, NMWA spent months scouring the collections of dozens of French museums and libraries to cull rarely-seen works by women artists. Royalists to Romantics showcases these exceptional works and reveals how the tumultuous period that saw the flowering of the court of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, the terrors of the French revolution, the rise and fall of Napoleon, and the restoration of the monarchy affected the lives and careers of women artists.

Featuring 35 artists, including Marguerite Gérard, Antoine Cecile Haudebourt-Lescot, Adélaïde Labille-Guillard, Sophie Rude, Anne Vallayer-Coster, and Élisabeth Louise Vigée-Lebrun, the exhibition explores the political and social dynamics that shaped their world and influenced their work. Some of these artists flourished with support of such aristocratic patrons as Marie Antoinette, who not only appointed her favorite female artists Élisabeth Louise Vigée-LeBrun and Anne Vallayer-Coster to court, but advocated their acceptance into the Académie Royale de peinture et de sculpture. The political upheavals of the French Revolution and the following decades brought a new set of challenges for women artists. Royalists to Romantics explores the complex ways that women negotiated their cultural positions and marketed their reputations in France’s shifting social, political and artistic environment.

Royalists to Romantics: Women Artists from the Louvre, Versailles, and other French National Collections has been organized by the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, D.C., with logistical support from sVo Art, Versailles.

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Laura Auricchio, Melissa Hyde, and Mary D. Sheriff have contributed essays to the catalogue:

Jordana Pomeroy, ed. Royalists to Romantics: Women Artists from Versailles, the Louvre, and Other French National Collections (New York: Scala Publishers, 2012), 144 pages, ISBN: 9781857597431, $45.

This beautifully illustrated book examines eighteenth-century French theories of sexual difference and their influence on the ‘woman-artist question’; paradoxical Revolutionary attitudes toward women artists, who encountered as many new limitations as opportunities; and the complex ways that women marketed their reputations and managed their cultural positions in France’s intricate social and artistic hierarchy.


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