Friday, October 28, 2016

Mystical Landscapes: Masterpieces from Monet, van Gogh and more

Art Gallery of Ontario 
Oct. 22, 2016 to Jan. 29, 2017
Musée d’Orsay 
Spring of 2017

This fall, the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) invites visitors to accompany some of the greatest artists of the 19th and 20th centuries on a spiritual journey of self-discovery. Organized in partnership with the renowned Musée d’Orsay in Paris, Mystical Landscapes: Masterpieces from Monet, van Gogh and more breaks new ground by exploring the mystical experiences of 36 artists from 15 countries, including Emily Carr, Paul Gauguin, Vincent van Gogh, Vassily Kandinsky, Piet Mondrian, Claude Monet, Edvard Munch, Georgia O’Keeffe and James McNeill Whistler.

This major exhibition, which features close to 90 extraordinary paintings and 20 works on paper, debuts on Oct. 22, 2016 and runs to Jan. 29, 2017, before opening at the Musée d’Orsay in the spring of 2017.

The years between 1880 and 1930 were marked by rampant materialism and rapid urbanization. Disillusioned with traditional religious institutions, many artists across Europe and North America searched for an unmediated spiritual path through mystical experiences. They conveyed their feelings of unity with nature and the cosmos in some of the most famous landscape paintings ever created. Gauguin found inspiration in the faith of peasants in rural Brittany; Monet sought solace from the First World War through hours of contemplation beside his waterlily pond at Giverny; and van Gogh looked for consolation in the starry skies over Arles.

Mystical Landscapes was conceived and developed by Katharine Lochnan, the AGO’s senior curator of international exhibitions, together with guest curators Roald Nasgaard and Bogomila Welsh-Ovcharov, in addition to Guy Cogeval and Isabelle Morin Loutrel of the Musée d’Orsay.

Over the five years it has taken to develop the exhibition, the AGO has been assisted by a multi-disciplinary advisory group drawn largely from senior faculty at the University of Toronto. Leading experts in the fields of theology, history, astrophysics, medicine and psychology have looked at nature mysticism and art through different lenses.

“These masterpieces convey experiences that cannot be put into words,” says Lochnan. “The feeling of connecting with a deeper reality—a power much greater than ourselves—is a mystical experience. These experiences may reach any of us through the contemplation of nature and the cosmos. We are moved by the beauty of sunrise and sunset, the stars in the night sky, the reflections of the moon on lakes, the power of the ocean waves and the vision of snow-capped mountains. These paintings convey the artists’ mystical experiences of something greater than themselves. It is primarily through the contemplation of nature that they have seen with greater clarity.”

Mystical Landscapes will take visitors on a journey through Europe, Scandinavia and North America, beginning on a path through the woods and ending with a view of outer space from a mountain top.

Highlights of the exhibition include:

Vincent van Gogh’s The Starry Night over the Rhone at Arles from 1888, which prompted him to write about feeling “a tremendous need of —shall I say the word— I go outside at night to paint the stars”;

Paul Gauguin’s vivid Vision after the Sermon (Jacob Wrestling with the Angel) from 1888, painted during his sojourn in rural Brittany;

Claude Monet’s Water Lilies (Nymphéas) from 1907, which he painted after hours of Zen-like meditation beside his Japanese water garden;

Edvard Munch’s The Sun, created to inspire students in the wake of his well-publicized nervous breakdown between 1910-1913

Georgia O’Keeffe’s Series I - from the Plains from 1919, showing the terrifying power of an approaching thunderstorm in Texas;

A series of mystical lithographs by the recently rediscovered French artist Charles-Marie Dulac, which illustrates St. Francis of Assisi’s Canticle of Creation.

“We have been given extraordinary support for this project from institutions around the world,” says Lochnan. “Many of the loans are ‘magnets’ in their home museums and are very seldom lent. This unprecedented level of generosity reflects the very genuine excitement and commitment to the ideas explored in this exhibition which have never been fully addressed through art historical research.”

Lenders include the Musée d’Orsay; Tate Britain; National Gallery of Canada; National Gallery of Scotland; National Museum, Stockholm; National Gallery, Oslo; National Gallery, Prague; Leopold Museum, Vienna; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Art Institute of Chicago; and many other institutions worldwide.

After stepping through its doors, visitors to the exhibition will feel an immediate sense of escape from the world outside. While designing the in-gallery experience, AGO Senior Interpretive Planner David Wistow has carefully considered ways to help audiences draw their own emotional connections to the art works. “We welcome people to contemplate the role of spirituality in their own lives, and their connection to a deeper reality,” says Wistow. “The artists’ mystical journeys prompt us to ask our own questions of, ‘Who are we, and why are we here?’”

An illustrated catalogue will accompany this exhibition—one of the most ambitious publications in the AGO’s history—and will be available in English and French. Featuring essays by 19 scholars and curators from across Europe and North America, including those who served in an advisory capacity, it will be for sale in shopAGO.

Dawn over Riddarfjarden

Dawn over Riddarfjarden by Eugene Jansson. (Prins Eugens Waldemarsudde)

Mystical Landscapes: Masterpieces from Monet, van Gogh and more is organized by the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto and the Etablissement public du musée d’Orsay et du musée de l’Orangerie, Paris.

Excellent article, more images:

The Spectacular Second Empire 1852 – 1870

Musée d'Orsay
27 September 2016 - 16 January 2017

Jean - Auguste - Dominique Ingres, Madame Moitessier, 1856, oil on canvas, 120 x 92.1 cm © The National Gallery, London, Dist. RMN - Grand Palais / National Gallery Photographic  Department  

 The  ostentation of  the “ fête impériale ” and France’s humiliating defeat in 1870  by Prussia, have long tarnished the  reputation of the Second Empire, suspected of having been a time purely of  amusements,  scandals and vices, as  described by  Zola  in his novels written during the Third Republic.  

James Tissot (1836-1902), Le Cercle de la Rue Royale, 1868, Huile sur toile, Paris, musée d'Orsay, © Musée d'Orsay, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais / Patrice Schmidt 

A place of official recognition and of scandal, the Painting and Sculpture  Salon was both an aesthetic battle ground and a huge market for the new middle class who flocked there in great  numbers. In 1863 Napoleon III, confronted by the protests of artists rejected by the  jury, created a “Salon des  Refusé s” alongside the official Salon, an act of significant liberalisation.  

Napoleón III

 With  paintings hung at several different levels, as was customary in the 19th century, the exhibition demonstrates the startling difference between the two Salons with   

Cabanel’s Birth of Venus 

and Manet’s Luncheon on the Grass.   
During the  1855 and 1867  Universal Exhibitions in  Paris  the  Empire shone brightly .  Here  the  excellence  of the French art industry and the unbridled eclecticism of the  sources of  inspiration  to which the creators turned were affirmed .  The  exhibition presents beautiful objects produced by the Imperial M anufacture  of Sèvres,  cabinetmakers  Fourdinois  and Diehl,  goldsmiths Christofle  and Froment - Meurice and the bronze founder Barbedienne.  

 Publication – Museum catalogue,  joint publication Musée d’Orsay / Skira, hardback , approx.  320 pages,  

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Daubigny, Monet, Van Gogh: Impressions of Landscape

Taft Museum of Art, Cincinnati, USA from 19 February to 26 May 2016
Scottish National Gallery, Edinburgh from 25 June to 2 October 2016 
Van Gogh Museum from 21 October 2016 to 29 January 2017

The exhibition highlights the crucial role the French artist Charles François Daubigny played as an innovator of nineteenth-century landscape art and a trailblazer for the Impressionists. There are a great number of works to be seen by Daubigny, Vincent van Gogh and Impressionists like Claude Monet and Camille Pissarro, from more than thirty-five international museums and private collections. Daubigny, Monet, Van Gogh takes a new look at the origins of Impressionism; placing Daubigny’s oeuvre in the context of this movement restores his role as a ground-breaking artist and a source of inspiration to its rightful position.

Charles François Daubigny, The-Harvest,1851-Paris Musee-dOrsay

Father of the Impressionists

Charles François Daubigny (1817 - 1878) was one of the leading French landscape painters of the nineteenth century. He created an impressive oeuvre, taking painting in new directions. His fondness for painting landscapes in the open air and his innovative, sketchy painting technique paved the way for the work of the Impressionists. Daubigny’s studio home in Auvers-sur-Oise became a place of pilgrimage for countless artists, Vincent van Gogh (1853 - 1890) among them.

Daubigny Landscape with Harvesters 1875 Museum Gouda The Netherlands

And yet today Daubigny is almost unknown to the general public. He is one of the many early nineteenth-century artists who were overshadowed by the success of the Impressionists. The Van Gogh Museum is putting this situation to rights in Daubigny, Monet, Van Gogh: Impressions of Landscape.

Progressive and Free

Daubigny’s personal approach to the landscape made a great impression on the young painters who would later be drawn to Impressionism. His threatening skies and impressive sunsets on the Normandy coast were emulated by Claude Monet (1840-1926), while Camille Pissarro (1830-1903) was inspired by his orchards in bloom. Daubigny was not only a source of inspiration: he also used his position and contacts in the Parisian art world to help this new generation of artists forge a career.

Paintings by Monet and Pissarro show how Daubigny inspired the young Impressionists in the 1860s.

In the 1870s Daubigny, like the Impressionists, started to experiment with brighter colours and capturing fugitive impressions of nature. One striking example is the painting

Setting Sun near Villerville (1874, The Mesdag Collection, The Hague), which hangs side by side in the exhibition with

Monet’s Sunset on the Seine near Lavacourt, Winter Effect (1880, Petit Palais, Paris).

Claude Monet's "Autumn on the Seine, Argenteuil" (1873)

The Coming Storm Early Spring, 1874 - Charles-Francois Daubigny

Le Botin Studio Boat

Daubigny sailed his studio boat Le Botin along French rivers so he could record the landscape from midstream. These trips generated original compositions and atmospheric river views that brought him fame and commercial success and found a following among the Impressionists. The Van Gogh Museum is presenting a modern multimedia variant of Daubigny’s studio boat created especially for the exhibition; visitors can experience painting on water for themselves through film, audio and various artefacts.

Van Gogh and Daubigny

Van Gogh admired the way the French master strove for realism and infused his landscapes with personal feeling. In 1890, Van Gogh spent the last months of his life in Auvers-sur-Oise, where Daubigny had lived and worked. Like the French artist, Van Gogh painted the traditional village houses and the nearby cornfields. He made several paintings in the garden of Daubigny’s former house that can be regarded as a homage to the artist, among them

Daubigny’s Garden (1890, Rudolf Staechelin Collection).

Drawing the Landscape

Daubigny Seascape 1874-Private Collection-Jon Landau

In the mid-nineteenth century more and more artists went outside to draw the landscape. They drew their inspiration from nature and seized on the increasing quality and variety of drawing materials. This is evident in the atmospheric nature scenes of the Barbizon School, and Vincent van Gogh’s expressive fields. In parallel to Daubigny, Monet, Van Gogh: Impressions of Landscape, the finest drawings of the French landscape in the Van Gogh Museum’s own collection will be on display in the Print Room.

Daubigny Orchard in Blossom 1874 Scottish National Gallery

International Collaboration

Daubigny, Monet, Van Gogh: Impressions of Landscape is a collaboration between the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, The Mesdag Collection in The Hague, The Taft Museum of Art in Cincinnati and The National Galleries of Scotland in Edinburgh. The exhibition includes loans from more than thirty-five museums and private collections in Europe and the United States, among them the Tate and The National Gallery in London, The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and Musée d’Orsay and Petit Palais in Paris.


A lavishly illustrated book in Dutch and English about the interaction between Daubigny and the Impressionists, his innovative approach and his influence on Van Gogh is being published to coincide with the exhibition: 176 pages.

Théodore Rousseau. Unruly Nature

13.10.2016 – 8.1.2017

Théodore Rousseau (1812–67) stands among the great figures of mid-19th century French painting. This autumn’s major special exhibition at the Glyptotek showcases Rousseau’s richly varied life’s work, where landscape painting became fertile soil for wild innovation. Featuring 56 paintings and drawings from 29 museums and private collections and from the Glyptotek’s own collection, this exhibition is the first large-scale presentation of Rousseau ever in Scandinavia, and the first of its kind in Europe since 1967.

Out of the shadows

Despite his considerable significance, Rousseau has long stood in the shadows of the subsequent generations of French painters – particularly the Impressionists, whom he can be said to have anticipated with his dawning abstraction and daring brushstrokes. Similarly, his role as standard bearer for the so-called Barbizon school has dimmed later generations’ appreciation of the full importance of Rousseau’s groundbreaking painting. Flemming Friborg, director of the Glyptotek, says: “Rousseau is much more than a warm-up act for Monet & associates. He is very much his own artist. This exhibition specifically aims to set him free from the constraints of preconceived categories, presenting him as what he is: one of the great innovators of landscape painting.”

Unruly landscapes

Rousseau entered the art scene at a time when landscape painting became recognised as one of the most popular and experimental genres around. Up until this point, landscapes had led rather quiet lives on the outskirts of the art of painting, serving mainly as the backdrop of scenes from literature and history. But now a new generation of artists began working with pure landscapes. Landscapes offered infinite painterly potential with their array of natural phenomena, capricious weather and changing light. Rousseau soon proved himself to be an artist of great scope and range. But to him landscapes were more than just nature. Painting became a prism through which he could merge sober observations of nature with his own feisty artistic temperament. Clear-headed renditions of details are combined with voluptuous brushstrokes to great effect in scenes from nature where the Romantic credo about the sublime is given unbridled visual expression.

Covering two floors, the exhibition demonstrates the sheer range of Rousseau’s oeuvre. Arranged in chronological order, the works on display demonstrate how Rousseau’s experiments cut across different techniques and formats, and especially how he utilized the synergy between drawing and painting. Open, receptive and explorative, Rousseau’s life’s work emerges as an extremely fruitful combination of fascination with nature and technical skill that helped formulate an entirely new vocabulary of expression within the landscape genre.

An unruly artist

The story of Rousseau’s career is of such stuff as myths are made on. Having been repeatedly met by chilly reception and rejections from the Paris Salon, Rousseau chose, in 1841, to entirely boycott this uppermost tier of the official art scene in France. A daring move that would usually have tripped up any artistic career. Yet things turned out differently for Rousseau. His absence became synonymous with the growing dissatisfaction with the Salon, and he was soon celebrated as “le Grand Refusé”. With political winds blowing in his favour, Rousseau was able to make a carefully staged comeback, casting him as a heroic martyr who not only conquered the art scene, but also won a seat on the Salon jury. Demand for his art rose rapidly soon afterwards – and did so at a time when the commercial art market began emerging in earnest. Soon his works were sold at dizzying prices, and far into the 20th century his artworks were among the most highly sought-after among museums and private collectors.

”Théodore Rousseau. Unruly Nature” has been co-organized with the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, which showed the exhibition from 21 June to 11 September 2016.


The exhibition is accompanied by a comprehensive catalogue (in English) that offers an overview of and insights into Théodore Rousseau’s rich and varied landscape painting. Featuring articles by the exhibition curators: Scott Allan (J. Paul Getty Museum), Édouard Kopp (Harvard Art Museums) and Line Clausen Pedersen (Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek).

Unruly Nature: The Landscapes of Théodore Rousseau. Publisher: J. Paul Getty Museum
209 pages, lavishly illustrated

Théodore Rousseau Images

Mont Blanc Seen from La Faucille, Storm Effect, begun 1834
Uvejr over Mont Blanc, påbegyndt 1834
Oil on canvas / Olie på lærred
143 × 240 cm
Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen, MIN1783
(SMK 3269)

Farm in les Landes
, 1844-1847
Avlsgård i Les Landes, 1844-1847
Oil and charcoal on canvas / Olie og kul på lærred
64 × 98 cm
Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen, SMK 3269
Photo: Ole Haupt

Forest of Fontainebleau, Cluster of Tall Trees Overlooking the Plain of Clair-Bois at the Edge of Bas-Bréau, c. 1849-52
Fontainebleauskoven, en gruppe høje træer ved Clair-Bois-sletten i udkanten af Bas-Bréau, ca. 1849-52
Oil on canvas / Olie på lærred
90.8 × 116.8 cm
The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, 2007.13

View of Mont Blanc, Seen from La Faucille, c. 1863-67
Mont Blanc set fra La Faucille, ca. 1863-67
Oil on canvas / Olie på lærred
91.4 × 118.4 cm
Minneapolis Institute of Art, The Putnam Dana McMillan Fund
Photo: Minneapolis Institute of Art

Also see an interesting article: 
 Théodore Rousseau’s View of Mont Blanc, Seen from La Faucille

Sotheby’s November 14 2016 Impressionist & Modern Art in New York: Munch, Picsso, Van Gogh, Lempicka, Diego Rivera

Edvard Munch’s stunning Pikene på broen (Girls on the Bridge) will lead Sotheby’s has announced that November 2016 auctions of Impressionist & Modern Art in New York.

Munch painted Girls on the Bridge in 1902, during an emotionally-turbulent yet highly-productive period of his life. The lyrical work ranks as one of the most powerful paintings of his career, and has twice set a new world auction record for the artist at Sotheby’s.

Girls on the Bridge will come to auction on 14 November with an estimate in excess of $50 million.
Simon Shaw, Co-Head of Sotheby’s Worldwide Impressionist & Modern Art Department, commented:
“Edvard Munch’s importance to the full breadth of 20th century art cannot be overstated. From the Expressionists to Fauvism and Pop Art, his oeuvre is increasingly prized for its lasting influence on the art of recent times. Munch pioneered the art of the self: recent museum shows pairing his work with that of artists ranging from Vincent van Gogh to Robert Mapplethorpe, Louise Bourgeois, Jasper Johns and Andy Warhol – among many others – have illustrated that his genius burns brighter today than ever. Our team has been privileged to present some of the artist’s most exceptional works at auction, each of which has caused great excitement in the market, and Girls on the Bridge is no exception.” 

Sotheby’s has been the stage for two decades of market-defining moments for the work of Edvard Munch, beginning with the 1996 sale of the present painting for a then-record $7.7 million. In 2006, Sotheby’s London held a historic sale of eight works by Munch from the collection of his patron Thomas Olsen, which together achieved nearly $30 million and established a new record when  

Summer Day sold for $10.8 million. 

Sotheby’s broke the artist’s record twice in 2008: first (and again) with Girls on the Bridge (sold for $30.8 million), followed just six months later by Vampire (sold for $38.2 million). In 2012, Sotheby’s had the great privilege of auctioning one of four versions of 

Munch’s iconic The Scream, which brought a world auction record price for any work of art: $119.9 million. 

The rich symbolism of Girls on the Bridge relates to Munch’s Frieze of Life, which takes the stages of a young woman's development from puberty to maturity as one of its themes. Girls on the Bridge continues Munch's exploration of the themes of both sexual awakening and mortality. The image of a cluster of young women, huddled in a secretive mass between two points of land, resonates with explosive tension. 

The present work has formed an integral part of several famed collections. It was first brought to the United States by Norton Simon in the 1960s. Wendell and Dorothy Cherry acquired Girls on the
Bridge from Norton Simon in 1980, adding to an extraordinary collection that included seminal works by Degas, Klimt, Modigliani, Sargent, Soutine and Picasso. Wendell Cherry passed away in 1991 and Girls on the Bridge remained with his widow Dorothy until 1996, when it was sold at Sotheby’s New York. 

Additional works offered at the auction are led by Pablo Picasso’s Le Peintre et son modèle, with an estimate of $12/18 million. Painted in 1963 and measuring more than five feet across,the painting exemplifies the dynamic force of the artist’s late work on a magnificent scale. Here Picasso depicts the powerful relationship between artist and model, one of the greatest recurring motifs of his late career. In this striking example, the male figure – a recognizable amalgamation of self-portraits – paints a female nude reminiscent of the female subjects of Rubens and Ingres. Le Peintre et son modèle is entirely fresh to the market, having descended through the Oestreich family since it was acquired in 1968 from Galerie Louise Leiris, Paris. 



Estimate: 2,000,0003,000,000

Bursting with vivid hues of red, orange and yellow, Nature morte: vase aux glaïeuls exemplifies the genius of Van Gogh during one of the most transformative periods of his career (estimate $5/7 million). When the artist first arrived in Paris in 1886, he had never seen an Impressionist picture, as works by Monet, Degas, Pissarro and the other Impressionists were not exhibited in the Netherlands until 1888. Teeming with newfound coloration, Nature morte: vase aux glaïeuls is one of the earliest examples of the vibrant floral still-lifes that would come to define Van Gogh’s work. Early ownership of the painting includes Théodore Duret, the renowned French journalist and art critic, and Paul Cassirer, the German art dealer who played a significant role in the promotion of the French Impressionist & Post-Impressionist artists.

Tamara de Lempicka's sexy, bold and ultra-stylized Portrait de Guido Sommi illustrates the sleek aesthetic of the Roaring Twenties, and is a rare depiction of a male subject within the artist’s career (estimate $4/6 million). The work comes to auction this November from the collection of Kenneth Paul Block, one of the most influential fashion illustrators of the 20th century, and Morton Ribyat, a noted textile designer who ran the design departments at two major firms. As the chief features artist for Women’s Wear Daily, Mr. Block was well-known for his sophisticated drawings of the latest styles and the women who wore them. For decades he drew the collections of major American and European designers – from Norell, Halston and Galanos, to Balenciaga, Chanel and Saint Laurent.

The Evening Sale will offer a number of works by artists fundamental to the birth of abstract art in the early-20th century, including László Moholy-Nagy, František Kupka and Wassily Kandinsky. The selection features two works by Moholy-Nagy that were most recently on view at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, as part of the acclaimed retrospective Moholy-Nagy, Future Present

Conceived in 1922 and executed in1923, EM 1 Telephonbild is a masterwork of 20th-century conceptual art (estimate $3/4 million). In the early 1920s, Moholy-Nagy fervently sought a new mode of expression that would place him at the forefront of the avant-garde. In addition to Duchamp and the readymade, Moholy-Nagy turned to the ideal of the engineer-artist and joined in the Constructivist and Productivist belief that easel painting was dead. In its place, industrial technologies could make prototypes of art that would later be produced for the masses. Despite his interest in this avant-garde means of production, the Telephonbild enamel series was Moholy-Nagy’s only painting executed solely by machine.

Presented this season as part of the Impressionist & Modern Art sales is iconic Mexican artist Diego Rivera’s Sans titre (composition cubiste), painted circa 1916 (estimate $500/700,000). As a young artist, Rivera traveled to Europe to continue his artistic training. He lived in Paris for over a decade, where he was immersed in the world of other young artists who had gathered from all over the globe. Rivera’s cubist works from this period – of which Sans titre is a prime example – are often compared to those of Pablo Picasso, with whom he formed a strong friendship after meeting in 1914.

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.