Enfilade

Exhibition | The Path of Nature: French Paintings, 1785-1850

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on February 26, 2013

From The Met:

The Path of Nature: French Paintings from the Wheelock Whitney Collection, 1785–1850
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 22 January — 21 April 2013

Lake Fucino and the Abruzzi Mountains

Joseph Bidauld, Lake Fucino and the Abruzzi
Mountains, 10 x 19 inches, ca. 1789 (NY: Met)

◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊

In 2003 the Metropolitan Museum acquired a significant group of paintings spanning a key period in European history, beginning with the advent of the French Revolution and concluding with the reign of Louis-Philippe. Assembled by the New York connoisseur Wheelock Whitney between 1972 and 2000, this collection reveals a rich tradition of painting out of doors nearly a century before Impressionism, thus amplifying the role of the natural world as a source of inspiration to artists on the cusp of the modern epoch. This exhibition of fifty paintings is the first to be devoted entirely to the Whitney collection and includes examples by numerous painters who are thought to be represented in no other American museum.

PathofNature_featured2The Whitney collection is remarkable for its concentration of plein-air oil studies by artists ranging from Pierre-Henri de Valenciennes to Camille Corot. This is complemented by a strong representation of finished landscapes, history subjects, genre, and portraiture: in short, the full scope of painting that one could expect to find in a Parisian cabinet d’amateur, or private collection, in the first half of the nineteenth century. Crossing the boundaries of subject matter and lying at the heart of the collection is a group of paintings executed by northern artists drawn to Rome by its combination of antiquity and natural beauty. A number of these painters received from the Académie des Beaux-Arts, Paris, the Rome Prize to study painting in Italy, for example, François-Édouard Picot, Léon Pallière, Charles Rémond, and André Giroux. Others traveled there independently, such as Joseph Bidauld, Simon Denis, François-Marius Granet, and Théodore Caruelle Aligny. The exhibition also illuminates one of the most popular developments in French painting during the 1820s, the depiction of Italian peasants, brigands, and clerics, by such representative figures as Claude Bonnefond, Jean-François Montessuy, and Louis-Léopold Robert.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s