Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Degas, Impressionism, and the Paris Millinery Trade

February 12 – May 7, 2017 | St. Louis Art Museum
June 24 – Sept. 24, 2017 | Legion of Honor, San Francisco

Best known for his depictions of Parisian dancers and laundresses, Edgar Degas (French, 1834-1917) was enthralled with another aspect of life in the French capital—high-fashion hats and the women who created them. The artist, invariably well-dressed and behatted himself, “yet dared to go into ecstasies in front of the milliners’ shops,” Paul Gauguin wrote of his lifelong friend.

Edgar Degas, The Milliners, about 1882 - before 1905. Oil on canvas, 59.1 × 72.4 cm (23 1/4 × 28 1/2 in.). The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles

Degas’ fascination inspired a visually compelling and profoundly modern body of work that documents the lives of what one fashion writer of the day called “the aristocracy of the workwomen of Paris, the most elegant and distinguished.” Yet despite the importance of millinery within Degas’s oeuvre, there has been little discussion of its place in Impressionist iconography.

Next year the Saint Louis Art Museum and the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco will bring new light to the subject with the presentation of Degas, Impressionism, and the Paris Millinery Trade, a groundbreaking exhibition featuring 60 Impressionist paintings and pastels, including key works by Degas—many never before exhibited in the United States—as well as those by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Édouard Manet, Mary Cassatt, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and 40 exquisite examples of period hats.

At the Milliner's. Artist: Edgar Degas,  The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
“This groundbreaking exhibition will provide a stunning experience for visitors while advancing scholarship of a little known but important part of Degas’ legacy,” said Brent R. Benjamin, the Barbara B. Taylor Director of the Saint Louis Art Museum. “Degas, Impressionism, and the Paris Millinery Trade will complement Impressionist works in our permanent collection, while giving proper context to Degas’ The Milliners, which the Saint Louis Art Museum acquired in 2007.”

At the Milliner ca. 1882 – 1885  Edgar Degas French, 1834 – 1917 Oil on canvas Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon 2001.27,  Virginia Museum of Fine Arts

The exhibition will be the first to examine the height of the millinery trade in Paris, from around 1875 to 1914, as reflected in the work of the Impressionists. At this time there were around 1,000 milliners working in what was then considered the fashion capital of the world. The exhibition will open at the Saint Louis Art Museum on Feb. 12, 2017 and at San Francisco’s Legion of Honor on June 24, 2017.

At the Milliner's Edgar Degas (French, Paris 1834–1917 Paris) 1881 Pastel on five pieces of wove paper, backed with paper, and laid down on canvas, The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

“This exhibition underlines the many facets of our extensive collection, which comprises not only  extraordinary paintings and drawings of French Impressionism but also exquisite hats of the same period,” says Max Hollein, Director of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. “The show presents a highly important part of Degas’ work in its extraordinary artistic but also social and historical context. It will be a revelation for many!”

1882 Chez la Modiste (At The Milliners), by Edgar Degas
Works from the collections of the Saint Louis Art Museum and the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco will be supplemented by loans from many international lenders.

Edgar Degas, French (1834-1917). Little Milliners, 1882. Pastel on paper, 19 1/4 x 28 1/4 inches. Purchase: acquired through the generosity of an anonymous donor, F79-34.The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Ari.
The exhibition is curated by Simon Kelly, curator of modern and contemporary art at the Saint Louis Art Museum and Esther Bell, curator in charge of European paintings at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.

Exhibition Catalogue

Degas, Impressionism, and the Paris Millinery Trade will be accompanied by a scholarly, full-color catalogue  edited by Kelly and Bell. The 296-page catalogue includes contributions by the exhibition curators, as well as Susan Hiner, Françoise Tétart-Vittu, Kimberly Chrisman-Campbell, Melissa Buron, Laura Camerlengo and Abigail Yoder.

Though best known for his depictions of dancers and bathers, Edgar Degas repeatedly returned to the subject of millinery over the course of three decades. In masterpieces such as The Millinery Shop (1879-86) and The Milliners (ca. 1898), he captured scenes of milliners fashioning and women wearing elaborate, colorful hats. Featuring sumptuous paintings, pastels, and preparatory drawings by Degas, Cassatt, Manet, Renoir, and Toulouse-Lautrec, among others, this generously illustrated book surveys the millinery industry of 19th-century Paris. Peppered throughout with photographs, posters, and prints of French hats, this book includes essays that explore Degas's particular interest in the millinery trade; the tension between modern fashion and reverence for history and the grand art-historical tradition; a chronicle of Parisian milliners from Caroline Reboux to Coco Chanel; and examples of how the millinery trade is depicted in literature. Brilliantly linking together the worlds of industry, art, and fashion, this groundbreaking book examines the fundamental role of hats and hat-makers in 19th-century culture.Published in association with the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.

Van Gogh Inspires: Matisse, Kirchner, Kandinsky: Highlights from the Merzbacher Collection

Van Gogh Museum 
24 August to 27 November, 2016 

The paintings in the exhibition Van Gogh Inspires: Matisse, Kirchner, Kandinsky: Highlights from the Merzbacher Collection show the impact Vincent van Gogh had on the most important artists of the early twentieth century. Masterpieces by the likes of Henri Matisse, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner and Wassily Kandinsky are being shown in the Netherlands for the first time. The private art collection assembled by Werner and Gabrielle Merzbacher is considered one of the finest in the world. The works are presented on the third floor of the Van Gogh Museum.

Fourteen masterpieces in the Netherlands for the first time

The focus of the exhibition Van Gogh Inspires: Matisse, Kirchner, Kandinsky: Highlights from the Merzbacher Collection is on the way Van Gogh influenced the French Fauvists and German Expressionists. Fourteen works from the Merzbacher Collection are being shown at the Van Gogh Museum, representing the most important Fauvists (including Matisse, Derain, De Vlaminck and Braque) and German Expressionists (such as Kirchner, Kandinsky, Jawlensky and Pechstein).

The selection includes Interior at Collioure (Afternoon Rest) by the Fauvist Henri Matisse,

Autumn Landscape with Boats by the Blaue Reiter artist Wassily Kandinsky,

and the expressive Girl with Cat, Fränzi by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner of the group Die Brücke.

Each is an iconic example of the respective artist’s oeuvre. The private art collection assembled by Werner and Gabrielle Merzbacher is considered one of the finest in the world. All the loans are being shown in the Netherlands for the first time.

Van Gogh: ‘the father of us all!’

Vincent van Gogh wrote in a letter to his brother Theo that ‘painters being dead and buried, speak to several following generations through their works’. Van Gogh did indeed become a shining example for generations of artists after him. Beginning in 1905, the Fauvists in France and the German Expressionists of Die Brücke and Der Blaue Reiter looked for ways to heighten the evocative power of their works.

Alexej von Jawlensky, Dark Blue Turban (Helene with Dark Blue Turban), 1910, oil on cardboard mounted on wood, 72 x 69 cm, Merzbacher Kunststiftung

Van Gogh’s colourful, animated and emotionally charged paintings offered them a source of inspiration. The vitality of his work encouraged both the Fauvists and the Expressionists in their need to express their emotions through their art. These innovative artists took Van Gogh’s pursuit of freedom in form and colour to a new level. Or, as the Brücke artist Max Pechstein later declared: ‘Van Gogh was the father of us all!’

Special loan

Since the new presentation of its permanent collection in November 2014, the Van Gogh Museum has set out to place Vincent van Gogh’s works and the story of his life and art in the wider context of his time. This includes a focus on past artists he admired, contemporaries and the artists who were inspired by him.

The Van Gogh Museum regularly updates the permanent display through acquisitions and temporary presentations. Loans from museum and private collections are used to extend Van Gogh’s story into the twentieth and even the twenty-first century. The loans from the Merzbacher Collection offer an insight into the ongoing influence exerted by Van Gogh’s work.


Tate Britain 
 February 2017 - 29 May 2017.

Tate Britain’s upcoming retrospective of David Hockney will bring together six decades of the artist’s work for the first time. Major loans from private collections – including works never displayed in public before – will be united with iconic paintings from museums around the world. It will be the most extensive survey ever staged of one of the most successful and recognisable artists of our time. This once-in-a-generation show will offer an unprecedented overview of Hockney’s work in paint, drawing, photography and video.

Highlights will include a double portrait of renowned novelist Christopher Isherwood and artist Don Bachardy, painted in 1968, shown in the UK for the first time in over two decades. Isherwood and Bachardy were one of Hollywood’s first openly gay couples and regularly opened up their home to entertain artists, actors and writers. This work was the first of Hockney’s celebrated double portraits, which he painted in the late 1960s and 1970s. Tate Britain will reunite many of this series, including  

American Collectors (Fred and Marcia Weisman) 1968;  

Henry Geldzahler and Christopher Scott 1968-9;  

Mr and Mrs Clark and Percy 1970-1;

Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures) 1971;

 and My Parents 1977.

The retrospective will include vibrant new paintings of the artist’s home and garden in Los Angeles, which will be united for the first time with earlier works depicting the same subject across 35 years. Hockney first moved to this home in 1979 and soon afterwards created  

Hollywood Hills House 1980, a colourful work showing both the interior and the garden.

20 years later he painted Red Pots in the Garden 2000, which features the same banana-leaf palm and gently curving pool from another perspective. New paintings of the garden, created following Hockney’s recent return to California after a decade at his Yorkshire home, will also be shown for the very first time.

The exhibition will cover the full scope of Hockney’s artistic practice, from small scale, intimate works to vast, immersive canvases. Highlights will include rarely seen works exploring tender and personal themes, from his early series of Love paintings and  

We Two Boys Together Clinging 1961 to delicate drawings of the artist’s friends and family, including designer Celia Birtwell, poet W H Auden, artists Andy Warhol and R B Kitaj, and Hockney’s own parents. More recent works, such as his acclaimed landscape paintings of the Yorkshire countryside and his pioneering experiments with digital drawing and filmmaking, will also be showcased.

David Hockney opens at Tate Britain on 9 February 2017 and runs until 29 May 2017. The exhibition is curated by Chris Stephens, Head of Displays & Lead Curator, Modern British Art, and Andrew Wilson, Curator Modern and Contemporary Art and Archives, with Assistant Curator Helen Little. It is sponsored by the Blavatnik Family Foundation with additional support from the David Hockney Exhibition Supporters Circle. This exhibition is organised by Tate Britain in collaboration with the Centre Pompidou, Paris and The Metropolitan Museum, New York.

Adriaen van de Velde: Master of the Dutch Golden Age

Dulwich Picture Gallery

12 October 2016 - 15 January 2017 
Press Release
Adriaen van de Velde, Panoramic summer landscape with a horseman and a post wagon, 1661, Oil on panel, Private Collection
In collaboration with the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, Dulwich Picture Gallery will host the first-ever exhibition devoted to the painter and draughtsman Adriaen van de Velde (1636 - 1672), one of the finest landscape artists of the Dutch Golden Age.

Over a career of less than two decades Van de Velde produced a varied body of paintings and drawings that earned him tremendous posthumous fame in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, when he was one of the most sought-after names among collectors in Germany, France and England.

Van de Velde was born in Amsterdam, the son and brother respectively of the marine painters Willem van de Velde the Elder and Willem van de Velde the Younger. Adriaen van de Velde, however, pursued an independent career as a landscape painter to focus on tranquil landscapes that depict both typically Dutch and Italianising views populated by figures in peaceful harmony with animals and the surrounding landscape.

Adriaen van de Velde: Dutch Master of Landscape (12 October 2016 – 15 January 2017) will bring together 60 of his most accomplished works, including landscapes and beachscapes as well as an extraordinary selection of exquisite preparatory studies, many of them in red chalk. Displayed alongside the artist’s paintings, these studies offer a rare glimpse of a seventeenth-century landscape painter at work, from conception to completion. The show will also include pen-and-ink drawings and watercolours that stand alone as works of art in their own right, revealing the extent of the young artist’s talent.

The exhibition opens with Van de Velde’s most accomplished paintings, made when the artist was still in his early twenties. Blissful scenes such as the masterly

Beach at Scheveningen, 1658 (Oil on canvas, 52.6 x 73.8 cm, 
© Museumslandschaft Hessen Kassel, Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister.

introduce Van de Velde’s highly individual style, in which everything stands out in the pure light of a summer’s day. 

Especially in his later work Van de Velde succeeded in incorporating the sun-drenched atmosphere of Italianate painters such as Karel Dujardin in his works, but brought a refinement to his subjects that was rarely matched by his contemporaries. Van de Velde probably never travelled outside Holland; the mountainous scenery and Italianate character of some of his landscapes and drawn studies sprung from the imagination and were inspired by the work of fellow artists. Examples include the Pastoral scene from the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid, and the preparatory composition drawing for this painting from the Morgan Library & Museum, New York.

There are few artists whose working procedures can be illustrated as well as in the case of Van de Velde, making it possible to follow precisely the various phases of his creative process. For the first time Van de Velde’s famous painting of 

Adriaen van de Velde,

The Hut, 1671,
Oil on canvas, 76 x 65 cm, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam.

The Hut (Rijksmuseum)  will be displayed alongside the drawn studies that the artist made in preparation for the painting, providing insight into the work’s genesis.

Such studies include Seated woman with basket and 

Resting cow with three sheep (both Amsterdam Museum), as well as a drawing from a private collection depicting the hut that lends the picture its name. These and other studies in the exhibition reveal Van de Velde’s almost obsessive attention to detail and how he proceeded from a rough composition sketch in pen and ink to separate studies of animals and figures from life, often executed in the medium of red chalk.

Few seventeenth-century Dutch landscapists devoted so much time and energy to sketching from models in the studio and the exhibition will showcase some of the artist’s remarkable figure studies, including a sheet with Two Studies of a Reclining Shepherd (Rijksmuseum), which in its elegance and exquisite use of red chalk prefigures the work of eighteenth-century French artists such as Antoine Watteau and François Boucher.

Van de Velde excelled in the depiction of the human figure and their integration into a landscape and was frequently asked to paint the staffage in the landscapes of his contemporaries; his figures can be found in works by artists such as Jacob van Ruisdael and Meindert Hobbema, and, for example, in

 Dulwich Picture Gallery’s Two Churches and a Town Wall (1660s) by Jan van der Heyden, which will feature in the exhibition.

The exhibition includes a selection of the artist’s cabinet-sized works and concludes with his larger paintings. Together they illustrate the enormous variety of subject-matter in Van de Velde’s oeuvre, from panoramic views to hunting scenes, pastoral subjects or depictions of winter. 

The larger works include the monumental 

Portrait of a Family in a Landscape (Rijksmuseum) a

Adriaen van de Velde,

Landscape with cattle and figures
1664, Oil on canvas, 125.7 x 167 cm,

© Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge

nd the idyllic Landscape with cattle and figures (Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge). 

Together these works show a Dutch Arcadia as it was imagined by this exceptionally refined artist.

Adriaen van de Velde: Dutch Master of Landscape is curated by Bart Cornelis, former Deputy Editor of The Burlington Magazine, London, in collaboration with Marijn Schapelhouman, Senior Curator of Drawings at the Rijksmuseum.

The exhibition includes works from over 20 lending institutions and private collections, including the Royal Collection, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister, Dresden, The Morgan Library & Museum, New York, Musée du Louvre, Paris, and The National Gallery, London.


Adriaen van de Velde was baptised in Amsterdam on 30 November 1636. He was the son of the famous marine painter Willem van de Velde the Elder (1611-1693) and brother of the equally renowned marine painter Willem van de Velde the Younger (1663-1707). Adriaen van de Velde was most probably first taught by his father. On 5 April 1657 he married Maria Ouderkerk in Amsterdam, where he most probably remained for the rest of his life. His wife was Catholic and their children were all baptised in clandestine Catholic churches in Amsterdam. He died at the age of 35 and was buried on 21 January 1672 in the Nieuwe Kerk in Amsterdam.


Adriaen van de Velde,

The Angel appearing to the Shepherds

, Brush and brown ink over

black chalk, 17.2 x 20.2 cm, © The Trustees of The British Museum

Adriaen van deVelde,
Herdsman and herdswoman with livestock by a stream

, Pen in

brown and black grey wash, 17.7 x 17.7 cm, Teylers Museum, Haarlem, The


Adriaen van de Velde

, Figures in a deer park

c. 1665, Oil on panel, 21.1 x 28.6 cm, 
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, The Edward and Sally Speelman Collection, TR:1644-2005.

Adriaen van de Velde,

Figures on the beach at Scheveningen

1660, Oil on canvas, 38.2 x 50cm,

Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2015

Adriaen van de Velde,

Seated woman with basket

, Red chalk, 28.3 x 20 cm, Private Collection

Adriaen van de Velde,

Panoramic summer landscape with a horseman and a post wagon

1661, Oil on panel, 37.8 x 49 cm, Private Collection.

Carriage on the Beach at Scheveningen, Adriaen van de Velde 1660. Musée du Louvre, Paris.

Adriaen van de Velde,

Two studies of a reclining shepherd, 1666-1671, 
red chalk over asketch in black chalk, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam. 
Purchased with the support of theVereniging Rembrandt

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Helen Levitt: In the Street

Helen Levitt: In the Street is an exhibition featuring more than 40 works by the renowned photographer Helen Levitt. Recording the theater of New York City streets, the exhibition features black-and-white and color photographs spanning the artist’s career from the late 1930s to the mid-1980s as well as a short film by Levitt from the 1940s.

Helen Levitt (American, 1913-2009)
New York, ca. 1940
Gelatin silver print
Collection of the Telfair Museum of Art, gift of Mrs. Robert O. Levitt
© Estate of Helen Levitt
A lifelong New Yorker, Levitt frequented the Lower East Side, Spanish Harlem, and other working-class neighborhoods of the city where life played out on the stoops and sidewalks. Using a handheld Leica camera outfitted with a right-angle viewfinder that allowed her to look in one direction but snap photographs in another, Levitt often passed unnoticed by her subjects, capturing unguarded instants of joyful play and meditative melancholy that constitute the mystery and poetry of everyday lives.

Showcasing the honest, humorous and inventive works of prolific documentary photographer Helen Levitt, this exhibition will feature 30 works by Levitt from the collections of the High and the Telfair Museums (Savannah, Ga.). One of the best-known street photographers of the 20th century, Levitt (American, 1913-2009) documented the everyday dramas of New York City. Working from the 1930s through the 1990s, Levitt roamed the Lower East Side, Spanish Harlem and other urban neighborhoods, capturing the story of city life.

Her photographs portray mothers hovering as their children play, pedestrians making their way along busy sidewalks, and neighbors visiting on stoops, among other scenes. Rarely do any of the figures in Levitt's work, child or adult, engage directly with the photographer or strike a premeditated pose; much more frequently they seem to be occupied completely in their own worlds.

Her photographs, first in black and white and later in color, observe people of every age, race and class without attempting to impose social commentary. Sojourns in New Hampshire and Mexico added variety to Levitt's portfolio, but New York City remained at the heart of her work. 

The exhibition is supplemented with nine images from the Museum’s collection, including three captivating photographs that record the fears and fantasies of children as expressed in their exuberant chalk drawings on the city’s pavement and walls. Also on view is Levitt’s 1948 short film In the Street, her directorial debut. The 16-minute black-and-white film, shot in Spanish Harlem, is a cinematic version of her earlier photographs of children.

“Throughout her long career, Levitt wielded the camera not as a tool of social reform or photojournalism tethered to a historical moment or political movement, but rather as a crystal ball through which to peer into the enduring nature of the human spirit,” commented Malcolm Daniel, Gus and Lyndall Wortham Curator of Photography at the MFAH. “The same unassuming modesty that allowed Levitt to portray her subjects so authentically also kept her from receiving the widespread recognition that she deserves. For many Museum visitors, this may be a first introduction to one of photography’s great artists.”

About the Artist

Born in Brooklyn, Helen Levitt (1913–2009) learned the fundamentals of camera and darkroom practice at a young age, leaving high school a semester before graduation to work for a commercial portrait studio in the Bronx.

It wasn’t until a meeting with the young French photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson in 1935, though, that she was introduced to the 35mm Leica camera and shown a new model of what it might mean to be an artist in photography.

She nurtured her vision over the next few years in New York’s museums and cinemas, and through the friendship of Walker Evans, with whom she shared a darkroom.

By 1940, Levitt’s seemingly artless photographs merited inclusion in the inaugural exhibition of the Photography Department at the Museum of Modern Art, followed by the first of three solo shows there three years later.

Levitt left still photography behind by the late 1940s, working instead as a full-time film editor. Her own film In the Street (shot in 1945–46 and first released in 1948) brought her subjects of a few years earlier to life. Then, beginning 1959 with a Guggenheim Fellowship and a new medium—color photography—Levitt once more rediscovered the enchanting cast of characters that inhabited the sidewalks of the city.

Helen Levitt: In the Street is organized by Telfair Museums, Savannah, Georgia.

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