Exhibition | Drawings and Paintings from The Horvitz Collection

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on January 11, 2019

Jean-Honoré Fragonard, Death of Cleopatra
(The Horvitz Collection; photo by Michael Gould)

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Opening this month at FUAM, the exhibition is a variation of Storytelling: French Art from the Horvitz Collection; from the press release:

A French Affair: Drawings and Paintings from The Horvitz Collection
Fairfield University Art Museum, Fairfield, Connecticut, 25 January — 29 March 2019

Curated by Alvin Clark

The Fairfield University Art Museum is pleased to announce its upcoming exhibition, A French Affair: Drawings and Paintings from The Horvitz Collection, which will be on view from January 25 through March 29, 2019, in the museum’s Bellarmine Hall Galleries in Bellarmine Hall on the campus of Fairfield University.

Produced by some of the most prominent artists of the Renaissance, Baroque, Rococo, and Neoclassical epochs, the 80 works on view comprise two separate exhibitions—Imaging Text: Drawings for French Book Illustration and Seventeenth and Eighteenth-Century French Paintings. All come from The Horvitz Collection, one of the world’s finest and most distinguished holdings of French art.

History, mythology, poetry, portraiture, and everyday life provided a vast storehouse of subject matter for French artists from the 16th through the mid-19th centuries. A French Affair features paintings and drawings in all these genres by celebrated artists such as Charles Le Brun, Nicolas de Largillière, Jean-Honoré Fragonard, Jean-Baptiste Oudry, and Anne-Louis Girodet de Roucy Trioson. The impressive selection of 70 drawings, some exhibited with related prints, focuses on a particular category—designs for book illustration—thereby highlighting not only the creative inventiveness of the artists who formulated lavish visual imagery from the written word, but also the rich literary traditions of France and the vibrant book publishing industry they spawned.

“It is a privilege for the Fairfield University Art Museum to present this captivating array of paintings and drawings by some of the leading protagonists of French art of the ancien régime and post-Revolutionary period, lent by the renowned Horvitz Collection,” said Linda Wolk-Simon, Frank and Clara Meditz Director and Chief Curator.

Particularly rich is the drawings exhibition component of this two-part presentation, Imaging Text, which highlights for visitors the importance of book illustration and the robust publishing trade in France as a catalyst for artistic invention. The new prominence of illustrations in printed books, and the heightened demand for draftsmen to produce such images, offered many artists entree into elite artistic, literary, and social circles beginning in the late 17th century. The choice selection of paintings from the same moment, with their bravura handling of light and color and masterful depictions of human form and inanimate objects, speaks to the rigorous artistic training and traditions, promoted by the French Academy and the Salon (the official annual art exhibition), in which all artists of the period—painters, sculptors, draftsmen, printmakers—were schooled.

Renowned for its breadth and quality, The Horvitz Collection has been the focus of many national and international exhibitions and scholarly publications, and it now contains nearly 2,000 drawings, paintings, and sculptures. The exhibition is curated by Alvin L. Clark, Jr., Curator, The Horvitz Collection and the J.E. Horvitz Research Curator, Emeritus, Department of Drawings, Division of European and American Art, Harvard Art Museums/Fogg. An illustrated catalogue of the drawings is available.

Alvin Clark and Elizabeth M. Rudy, Imaging Text: French Drawings for Book Illustration from The Horvitz Collection (Boston: The Horvitz Collection, 2018), 76 pages, ISBN: 978-0991262533, $10.

S E L E C T E D  P R O G R A M M I N G

Thursday, January 24, 5:00pm
Collecting French Art: A Conversation with Jeffrey Horvitz and Alvin Clark

Saturday, February 2, 12:00pm
Sarah Cantor (Kress Interpretative Fellow), Gallery Talk: Drawing for Books in 18th-Century France

Thursday, February 7, 11:00am
Michelle DiMarzo (Curator of Education and Academic Engagement), Art in Focus: Pierre-Paul Prud’hon, Sylvia and the Satyr, 1800

Tuesday, February 12, 6:00pm
Performance: ekphrasis vii — Fairfield University MFA students will read original pieces inspired by the works on view in A French Affair: Paintings and Drawings from The Horvitz Collection

Thursday, February 21, 5:00pm
Sarah Cantor (Kress Interpretative Fellow), Gallery Talk: Drawings to Prints

Wednesday, March 6, 5:00pm
Elizabeth Rudy (Carl A. Weyerhaeuser Associate Curator of Prints, Harvard Art Museums), Lecture: 18th-Century French Drawings — part of the Edwin L. Weisl, Jr. Lectureships in Art History, funded by the Robert Lehman Foundation


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