Exhibition | French Paintings from the Wadsworth Atheneum

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on March 27, 2013

It’s interesting to see how this exhibition has been retitled in various venues: from Old Masters to Impressionists, to Old Masters to Monet, to Court to Café. The exhibition appeared in a fuller version at the Wadsworth Atheneum itself as Medieval to Monet: French Paintings, where it was accompanied by a full catalogue. -CH

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Press release (4 December 2012) from the Mississippi Museum of Art:

Old Masters to to Monet: Three Centuries of French Painting from the Wadsworth Atheneum
The Michele and Donald D’Amour Museum of Fine Arts, Springfield, MA, 13 December 2011 — 29 April 2012
Taft Museum of Art, Cincinnati, 18 May — 16 September 20122
Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, CT, 19 October 2012 — 27 January 2013 [expanded version of the exhibition]
Mississippi Museum of Art, Jackson, 23 March — 8 September 2013
Denver Art Museum, 27 October 2013 — 9 February 2014

Elisabeth-Louise Vigée Le Brun (1755–1842), The Duchesse de Polignac Wearing a Straw Hat, 1782. oil on canvas. 35 3/4 x 27 3/4 in. Collection of Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, CT. The Ella Gallup Sumner and Mary Catlin Sumner Collection Fund. Acquired in honor of Kate M. Sellers, Eighth Director of the Wadsworth Atheneum, 2000–2003, 2002.13.1

Elisabeth-Louise Vigée Le Brun, The Duchesse de Polignac Wearing a Straw Hat, 1782 (Hartford, CT: Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art)

The Mississippi Museum of Art is pleased to present Old Masters to Monet: Three Centuries of French Painting from the Wadsworth Atheneum, on view from March 23 through September 8, 2013. It is the thirteenth presentation in The Annie Laurie Swaim Hearin Memorial Exhibition Series. Established in 1989 to honor the memory of Annie Laurie Swaim Hearin, one of the Museum’s most dedicated patrons and volunteers, the Hearin series showcases exhibitions of world-class art, attracting visitors to Jackson from across Mississippi, the Southeast, and beyond.
Old Masters to Monet features fifty masterpieces from the collection of the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford, Connecticut. The outstanding artworks provide a history of French painting, ranging from the seventeenth through the nineteenth centuries and into the beginning of the twentieth century and include religious and mythological subjects, portraits, landscapes, still lifes, and genre scenes.

The Wadsworth Atheneum is America’s oldest public art museum, founded in 1843, and has never presented a full-scale survey of its distinguished collection of French paintings. To honor the recent publication of its
collection catalogue, the Atheneum has launched a tour of fifty of these outstanding masterpieces. “The Mississippi Museum of Art is honored to be one of the select venues to host this important exhibition,” said Betsy Bradley, director of the Mississippi Museum of Art. “In keeping with our mission of engaging Mississippians in the visual arts, this exhibition provides a rare opportunity for our visitors to come face to face with some of the most historically valued French paintings held in any museum collection.”

The exhibition begins with the great seventeenth-century masters, Nicolas Poussin, Claude Lorrain, Simon Vouet, and Jacques Stella, all of whom spent time in Rome and whose work embodies Italianate ideas of beauty, classical sculpture, and ideal landscape. Poussin’s enormous Crucifixion, painted in 1646 for President Jacques-Auguste de Thou, and Lorrain’s Landscape with St. George and the Dragon, commissioned by Cardinal Fausto Poli in 1641, are among the most important French paintings residing in the United States.

The eighteenth-century works present a remarkably rich tapestry of life in France during the rococo age. There are several scenes and portraits of aristocrats, including the Portrait of the Duchesse de Polignac by the era’s leading painter of women, Madame Vigée-Lebrun. Genre scenes rendered during this period exhibit a decidedly risqué bent as well as humorous aspects of life, both of which are evident in paintings on view by Jean Baptiste Greuze, François Boucher, and Louis Leopold Boilly. A more serious approach is evidenced in Still Life by Jean Baptiste Simeon Chardin and in the charming family pictures by Nicolas-Bernard Lépicié and Nöel Hallé. The change in style brought about by the French Revolution is evident in the impressive composition designed by Jacques Louis David, and the creation of a new aristocracy is presented by the two brilliant paintings by Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres. (more…)

Exhibition | Drawing Room: An Intimate Look at French Drawings

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on March 27, 2013

This fall, the Denver Art Museum will present Passport to Paris, a trio of exhibitions addressing France. Along with works from the Wadsworth Atheneum, the museum will show Nature as Muse: French Impressionist Landscapes and the following drawing exhibition:

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Drawing Room: An Intimate Look at French Drawings from the Esmond Bradley Martin Collection
Denver Art Museum, 27 October 2013 — 9 February 2014

Antoine Watteau, Standing Woman Holding a Fan, about 1719. Red and black chalk, with graphite, on paper. Lent by Dr. Esmond Bradley Martin.

Antoine Watteau, Standing Woman Holding a Fan, ca. 1719. Red and black chalk with graphite, on paper.
Collection of Dr. Esmond Bradley Martin.

Inspired by the drawings cabinets of gentlemen and connoisseurs, this exhibition will offer a space where visitors can get close to artworks whose intimate nature invites contemplation and close-up viewing. Comprised of approximately 39 works-on-paper, the exhibition includes a range of techniques from rapid sketches to finished pastels. The artworks represent exquisite examples of draughtsmanship by some of the most celebrated French masters and allow an in-depth look into the creative process of artists.

The entire exhibition is drawn from the private collection of Dr. Esmond Bradley Martin. Artists featured include François Boucher, Jacques-Louis David, Théodore Géricault, Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Claude Monet, and Alfred Sisley.

New Book | Masters of French Painting at the Wadsworth Atheneum

Posted in books, catalogues by Editor on March 27, 2013

From Giles:

Eric M. Zafran, Masters of French Painting, 1290–1920: At the Wadsworth Atheneum (London: D. Giles, 2012), 288 pages, ISBN: 978-1904832935, £45 / $65.

Layout 1Masters of French Painting, 1290–1920: At the Wadsworth Atheneum presents over 130 of the most significant works of art from this internationally recognized collection of French paintings and pastels.

As the first public art museum in the U.S., the Wadsworth Atheneum paved the way for encyclopaedic museums across the country. Founded by Daniel Wadsworth, the Atheneum opened in 1844 with 79 paintings and three sculptures, and today holds more than 50,000 works of art. These include great 17th-century religious masterpieces by Poussin and Claude, charming 18th-century genre paintings and portraits by Boucher, Robert, Vigée Lebrun, and Trinquesse, and varied and rich examples from the 19th century, with outstanding works by Géricault, Delacroix, Monet, Renoir, Gauguin, and Toulouse-Lautrec.

Masters of French Painting, 1290–1920 fills a major gap in the museum’s series of titles devoted to its collections. It provides scholars and researchers with an entirely new catalogue, with up-to-date references, provenance, exhibition histories and technical/conservation reports, in addition to insightful art historical commentaries on the paintings. The book also includes an introductory essay on the creation of this remarkable collection by curator Eric M. Zafran.
An exhibition of about 100 highlights of the collection, Medieval to Monet, will be on view at the Wadsworth Atheneum, October 19, 2012 – January 27, 2013

Eric M. Zafran is the Susan Morse Hilles Curator of European Art at the Wadsworth Atheneum, where he has worked since 1997. As curator of European Paintings at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston he wrote volume I of the museum’s Catalogue of French Paintings. He is the author of publications on Rembrandt, Monet, Gauguin, Doré, and Calder.

Call for Papers | Collaborators: Collectors, Critics, and Curators

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on March 27, 2013

Collaborators: The Role of Collectors, Critics, Curators in Artistic Practice, ca. 1780-1914
Humanities Research Centre, University of York, 26 June 2013

Proposals due by 26 April 2013

In May 1884 the art critic Marion Harry Spielmann wrote in defence of the often criticised profession of art criticism: “The critic – (I am not now referring to the mere notice writer of daily journalism) – spends his life in devotion not only to art but to artists: and, so far as public recognition is concerned, he reaps his reward in sneers and ‘chaff’: sneers from painters, thoughtless and irresponsible, like Mr Whistler; indifference from others less splenetic and querulous.” Spielmann, a prolific author, editor and arts administrator, was an advocate for and close friend of numerous contemporary artists. Along with the collectors and curators whom he frequently worked with and wrote about, he was an active and influential participant in contemporary art practice in late-Victorian London.

Relationships between artists, collectors, critics and curators are often considered in isolation but rarely in tandem. Drawing upon a diverse range of case studies, covering a variety of local and global contexts, this one day post-graduate workshop aims to unpick consistencies, changes and crossovers in the sometimes fraught but often productive relationships between artists, collectors, critics and curators in the long nineteenth century. By bringing together students, early-career researchers and established academics, we hope the workshop will provide an informal but stimulating forum for conversation, debate and interdisciplinary exchange about the nineteenth-century art world and its constituents.

We invite proposals for twenty-minute papers from postgraduate students, early career researchers and established academics. Papers might explore, but are not limited to, the following topics:
•    The advent of professional art critics and curators and its impact on artistic practice
•    Patronage and collecting in the long nineteenth century
•    Artists as collectors, critics and curators
•    The fabrication and decoration of Museum buildings
•    Curating contemporary art in the long nineteenth century
•    The art press and art publishing
•    The Grand Tour/tourists as collectors, critics and curators
•    Conversations/collaborations in the studio
•    Collectors, critics, curators and local/regional/national identities
•    Agency and authorship in artistic practice in the long nineteenth century
•    Documents: catalogues, contracts and correspondence

Abstracts of no more than 250 words should be sent to Charlotte Drew (ckd502@york.ac.uk) and Eoin Martin (eoin.martin@warwick.ac.uk) by Friday 26 April. This event is generously supported by the Centre for Modern Studies, University of York.

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