Thursday, August 29, 2013

The Enchanted World of German Romantic Prints

In the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, prints became widely available to growing and increasingly enthusiastic audiences throughout Europe and the United States. The Enchanted World of German Romantic Prints, at the Philadelphia Museum of Art September 21–December 15, 2013, tells an important chapter in this story. This exhibition, comprising 125 etchings, lithographs, and woodcuts, will explore prints by artists from Germany, Austria, and Switzerland from 1770 to 1850, and how printmaking reflected the profound cultural changes that swept across the German-speaking regions of Central Europe during this period.

The works in the exhibition represent the many artistic enthusiasms of the age: the Romantic fascination with wild, untamed landscapes teeming with life; the intimate pleasures of family scenes and friendship portraits; the rediscovery of ancient Nordic sagas and traditional fairy tales; and the synthesis of visual art, poetry, and music. The Museum’s encyclopedic collection of prints from this period is the finest in the country and includes rare prints unseen even in the finest European collections.

German Romantic Prints will feature major prints by important artists of the German Romantic era such Caspar David Friedrich, Carl Wilhelm Kolbe the Elder, and Philipp Otto Runge. The revival of interest in regional folk culture and fairy tales provided a rich source of material for artists of the time, including Ludwig Emil Grimm, the younger brother of the famous Brothers Grimm, Jacob and Wilhelm. His print

The Boy Turned into a Fawn, Comforted by His Sister and Watched over by an Angel (1819)

was used as the frontispiece of an early edition of his brothers’ famous tales. By the 1830s advances in technology allowed for the printing of large editions, and local art societies began to issue annual prints for members. Two large and elaborate etchings by Eugen Napoleon Neureuther illustrate the tales of

Sleeping Beauty (1836)

and Cinderella (1847)

and attest to the continuing popularity of these stories throughout the era.

Caspar David Friedrich, one of the most important German artists of his generation, made only a handful of prints in his career. German Romantic Prints will include his rare woodcut,

Woman Seated under a Spider’s Web (1803–4),

a quintessential image of the Romantic era: a young woman seated between a pair of barren trees in dense undergrowth, seemingly lost in melancholy meditation on the brevity of life.

In the early 1800s, German artists and art lovers flocked to Dresden to admire

Raphael’s Sistine Madonna,

a painting represented in this exhibition by an engraving

Sistine Madonna after an oil painting by Raphael. Engraved by C.Deucker and published in Meyers Konversations-Lexikon, Germany,1859.

that was once as widely admired as the painting itself.

The Sistine Madonna provided the inspiration for Philipp Otto Runge’s visionary masterpiece,

The Times of Day (Morning, Day, Evening, Night)





This ambitious allegorical series depicting the cycle of life was originally conceived of as a set of mural-sized painted panels, but was realized only in the form of four large etchings, a rare first edition of which will be displayed. These large prints are bordered by delicate ornamental arabesques composed of intricate plant forms, music-playing infants, and cherubs.

The Artist Resting with His Guide by the Roadside, 1819. Johann Christoph Erhard, German, 1795 1822. Etching and engraving and drypoint, Plate: 7 15/16 x 8 1/16 inches (20.2 x 20.4 cm), Sheet: 8 3/16 x 10 11/16 inches (20.8 x 27.2 cm). Philadelphia Museum of Ar

An overview of a vital chapter in the history of European printmaking, German Romantic Prints will illuminate one of the richest yet least known areas of the Museum’s collection. A selection of prints presented in display cases will permit enjoyment of the more finely detailed prints up close.

A similar exhibition, Landscape, heroes and folktales: German Romantic prints and drawings was held atthe British Museum 29 September 2011 – 1 April 2012.

Here's the British Museum's discussion of its exhibition:

The late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries was a time of great cultural flowering in Germany. In this country, the era is best known through its music, by such great masters as Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert. Many of the writers that were their contemporaries are also household names; notably Goethe, probably the most dominant European author at the time.

In philosophy, no figures were more influential than Kant and Hegel who completely revolutionized the structure of speculative discourse. This great cultural and intellectual flowering was complemented by a growing sense of national identity.

The new British Museum exhibition Landscape, heroes and folktales: German Romantic prints and drawings, explores the visual arts of this remarkable period which are less well known in the UK. The Napoleonic wars in Europe caused economic ruin. In 1806, Napoleon had forced the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire, the medieval structure which had held the loose conglomeration of German states and principalities together for centuries. The destruction of the traditional art market caused early nineteenth-century German artists to seek a new identity. Some returned to the values and techniques of medieval and Renaissance art as part of this process, and an enthusiastic study of Dürer’s engravings and the art of Raphael is particularly striking in, for example, the linear style of draughtsmanship of Peter Cornelius, or the work of Friedrich Overbeck, whose composition, Italia and Germania, epitomised the mood of the period.

Schnorr von Carolsfeld spent most of his life working on designs for an ambitiously illustrated Picture Bible, all deeply imbued with Raphael’s style. The most striking prints of the period were made in the recently-invented technique of lithography, such as the Portrait of the Eberhard brothers by Johann Anton Ramboux, or the beautiful set of landscapes of days of the week showing views around Salzburg by Ferdinand Olivier. A surge of interest in landscape is a dominant feature of this period. In contrast to Italianate classical views so typical of the eighteenth century, delicate studies of plants and trees and large prints and drawings of a rugged countryside reveal a much deeper interest in Germanic landscape. A group of wildlife watercolours by Wilhelm Tischbein, the artist best known for his close friendship with Goethe, are remarkable for their freshness; and etchings by the school teacher and philologist, Carl Wilhelm Kolbe, show idyllic scenes of lovers in verdant woodland glades. The greatest and rarest of German romantic prints, The Four Times of Day of 1805 by Philipp Otto Runge will be framed on the wall at the entrance of the exhibition.

Images from that exhibition:

Carl Wilhelm Kolbe (1759–1835), I too was in Arcadia (detail). Etching, 1801. From a private collection.

Carl Wilhelm Kolbe (1759–1835), I too was in Arcadia. Etching, 1801. From a private collection.

Wilhelm Tischbein: The geese accusing Reynard the Fox of murder and theft before King Nobel, c. 1810

Friedrich Overbeck, Italia and Germania

Johann Anton Ramboux, Portrait of the Eberhard brothers

Klimt, Schiele, Kokoschka, Gerstl and Their Times

With the Vienna Secession and Wiener Werkstätte, Vienna around 1900 was one of the cradles of modern art. From September 26, 2010 – January 16, 2011 the Fondation Beyeler mounted Vienna 1900: Klimt, Schiele, and Their Times, the first comprehensive exhibition ever devoted in Switzerland to this theme, curated by Barbara Steffen. On view were about 200 paintings, water-colors and drawings, supplemented by architectural models, furniture, textile designs, glass and silver objects, artists posters, and photographs.

At the center of the exhibition of Viennese modernism were the renowned ornamental portraits and landscapes of Gustav Klimt, the expressive figure depictions of Egon Schiele, and the legendary erotic drawings of both artists. Presented in addition were works by the young Oskar Kokoschka, Richard Gerstl, and Arnold Schoenberg. Running like a thread through the exhibition is the idea of the gesamtkunstwerk, a leitmotif of the artists, artisans, and architects of the Vienna Secession and Wiener Werkstätte, as witnessed by models and drawings of key buildings and furniture designed by the major architects of the day – including Otto Wagner, Joseph Maria Olbrich, Josef Hoffmann, Adolf Loos – as much as by objects of applied art, especially those by Koloman Moser.

Vienna around 1900

The imperial and royal capital and residence city of Vienna formed the stage for a profound, epochal change at the end of the old and beginning of the new century. In those years, Vienna magnetically attracted people from all over the Austro-Hungarian monarchy to the bastion of visual arts, music, literature, applied art, and architecture. The artistic and intellectual climate in Vienna oscillated between tradition and new beginnings, faith in progress and apocalyptic gloom. Franz Kafka and the Viennese author Arthur Schnitzler projected a pessimistic view of the world. Otto Wagner in architecture, like Klimt in painting and Freud in science, embodied that profound change of paradigms that introduced essential impulses that were to influence the art of the following gene-rations.

The Vienna Secession

The founding of the Vienna Secession (Association of Austrian Visual Artists) by Klimt, Hoffmann, Olbrich and other painters, sculptors and architects in 1897, set off a burgeoning of fine and applied art in the city that would last for two decades, and trigger the programmatic development of the interdisciplinary gesamtkunstwerk known as Viennese modernism. The Vienna Secession artists rejected the traditional, conservative and historicist definition of art that dominated the Künstlerhaus academy, and advocated public recognition of art on an international level. The concept of the gesamtkunstwerk was understood as a collaboration of fine and applied artists, including architects, on a basis of equality, an idea of design that transcended borderlines between fields, premised on the notion of subordinating every detail to the effect of the whole. Everyday life, in particular, was to be suffused with art.

The Exhibition

The exhibition ranged from the founding of the Vienna Secession to the end of the First World War in 1918, the year of death of Klimt, Schiele, Wagner and Moser. The Secession exhibition building, erected in 1898 to plans by Olbrich (1867-1908), a striking structure with a golden, leaf-patterned cupola where the first Secession show took place that same year, became a Vienna landmark. It was also the site of Klimt’s renowned Beethoven Frieze of 1902, a replica of which in the foyer forms the prelude to the Fondation Beyeler exhibition. On view in the first room are historical archi-tectural models, artists posters and documents on the Secession, and a fan of leaves designed by all of its members.

Gustav Klimt (1862-1918), first president of the Vienna Secession, was a gifted painter and drafts-man and the key figure in the gesamtkunstwerk movement. Three exhibition rooms wee devoted to around fifty of his paintings, drawings and sketches. Klimt’s best-known motifs, apart from allegories, include his ornamental female portraits, of which the masterpieces

Judith II (Salome; 1909),

Water Nymphs (Silverfish; c. 1899),

Goldfish (1901/02),

and The Dancer (1916/18) a

were on view. The last-named painting embodies the quintessence of the artist’s portraits of ladies: its flat com-position, patterns of color, aesthetic-erotic atmosphere, and abstraction coupled with a standing female figure, already anticipate the art of the later twentieth century.

A frequent motif of Klimt’s landscapes was lake Attersee in the Salzkammergut, where he summered between 1900 and 1907. With well-nigh abstract color compositions like

Attersee (1901)

and The Park (1910 or earlier),

he advanced in the direction of nonobjective art. Due to its innovative representation of space and plane,

Approaching Thunderstorm (The Large Poplar II; 1903) is considered Klimt’s most outstanding landscape.

Klimt served as a mentor to younger artists such as Kokoschka and especially Schiele, though both were to develop in a different direction, turning away from the gesamtkunstwerk to adopt nascent Expressionism.

Schiele’s ties with Klimt and his admiration for him are reflected in his famous oil,

The Hermits (1912),

which represents the two as a double figure cloaked in a black coat.

In contrast to Klimt, whose figures were always embedded in an abstract colored pattern, Schiele liberated himself from all aesthetization. He was interested in the “true”, indeed tormented human body and human sexuality.

The exhibition brought together twenty important paintings (portraits and landscapes) and more than fifty of the extremely valuable works on paper by Schiele (1890-1918). Prematurely felled by the Spanish Flu, Schiele was a master of self-staging and psychological visualization. His famous self-depictions, such as

Self-Portrait with Lowered Head

and Self-Portrait with Raised Bare Shoulder (both 1912),

count among the major works of Expressionism. Schiele rejected the predominant classical idealization of the male body and had no scruples about addressing scandalous subject matter, as in the renowned painting

Cardinal and Nun (Tenderness; 1912).

A separate cabinet devoted to erotic art included the great, sensual watercolors and drawings in which Schiele transcended the theme of the nude to represent unprecedented aspects of sexuality. Often the models assume eccentric poses, appearing isolated in an undifferentiated space. A public showing of these works was unthinkable in Vienna around 1900. In 1912, Schiele was taken to court for publicly displaying licentious erotic art.

The majority of Klimt’s drawings of women are done in pencil or charcoal sparingly highlighted with color, in which the female body is sketched with precise contours. Many of the drawings are explicitly erotic in nature. Unlike the comparable works of Schiele, rarely does a woman’s direct gaze at the viewer disturb her sexual self-intimacy.

Oskar Kokoschka (1886-1980), painter, printmaker and author, represented an Expressionism he understood as a universal movement. His portraits, done between 1907 and 1910 and absolutely unusual at the time, concentrate on head and torso, mostly depicted against an indeterminate background. Out of the purely corporal shell Kokoschka liberates psychological aspects of human existence.

Similarly to Schiele, Kokoschka focused especially on the position and gesture of hands.


Annunciation (c. 1911),

an outstanding example of his religious art, the Bible story is combined with extreme gestures and body movements. The exhibition included a famous

Self-Portrait (1917)

and other portraits, such as that of his partner and muse

Alma Mahler

and the composers Anton von Webern and Arnold Schoenberg.

(see more of his portraits here)

The dual talents of many Viennese modern artists and their relationship with music are reflected especially in the work of the composer Schoenberg (1874-1951), whose oeuvre holds a special place in Viennese art of the early twentieth century. It comprises self-portraits, landscapes and painterly visions that are concerned with the human gaze and image. The exhibition included a series of Schoenberg’s major works. A fascination with one’s own gaze, veritably programmatically expressed in Gaze (1910), also served Schiele, Kokoschka, and Gerstl to reveal their inmost selves.

Richard Gerstl (1883-1908) had an affair with the wife of his friend Schoenberg, Mathilde Schoenberg, and portrayed her several times. Among Gerstl’s most important works is

Group Portrait with Schoenberg (1907),

whose impulsive paint handling stands in contrast to the Secessionists’ focus on aesthetics and beauty.

In his famous

Semi-Nude Self-Portrait (1904/05)

Gerstl depicts himself as a messianic figure, quoting formal and substantial elements of depictions of Christ to convey his self-image as an artist. Similarly to Schiele, his self-portraits are characterized by a strong narcissicm and unleashed expressiveness.

The Wiener Werkstätte

The Wiener Werkstätte, a production commune of visual artists and artisans, was founded in 1903 by the entrepreneur Fritz Waerndorfer, its leading light Koloman Moser, and Josef Hoffmann. Modelled along the lines of the British Arts and Crafts Movement, the aim of the shop, which colla-borated with the Secession and Vienna School of Decorative Arts, was to expand the definition of art to include the crafts. The Werkstätte’s love of experiment and the high demands it made on quality had a style-shaping influence, both on architecture and on the implements of daily life. Wardrobes, desks, chests of drawers, lighting fixtures, chairs and tables were produced, along with entire interiors, fashions, jewelry, glass, silver objects, and book designs.

The oeuvre of Koloman Moser (1868-1918), active as a painter, graphic artist, furniture designer, artisan, stage set and exhibition designer, represents a gesamtkunstwerk in itself. His painting extended from landscapes in intense colors to portraits and figure depictions. Mostly portrayed frontally or in profile, the sitters have a rather stiff appearance, as if frozen in the midst of a dynamic movement. Significant Moser works in the exhibition, alongside numerous examples of applied art, are the paintings Venus in the Grotto (c. 1914) and Two Girls (c. 1913/15). An example of extraordinary design and artistic treatment are his Buffet cabinet and picture frame (1900/1901–02) titled The Abundant Catch, which Moser showed in 1910 at the eighth Secession exhibition.

An outstanding example of the idea of the interdisciplinary work of art put into practice is the cabaret Fledermaus (Bat; 1907), conceived by Josef Hoffmann (1870-1956) and extensively documented in the exhibition, every facet of which, from interior to furniture, tableware and program brochure, was designed by Hoffmann himself. Chairs, cabinets, silver and glass objects, and an architectural model of the Purkersdorf Sanatorium (1904) attest to the the artist’s wide-ranging creative activity.

Otto Wagner (1841-1918) taught architecture at the Academy of Visual Arts. This “Wagner school” produced famous architects like Josef Hoffmann, Joseph Maria Olbrich and Adolf Loos, whose names alone cover an essential part of building in Vienna around 1900. Wagner’s prime motive in architectural design was functionality, which included the use of modern materials like steel and aluminum. In his pathbreaking Postal Savings Bank (1904-06), apart from reinforced concrete and marble, he employed aluminum both as a design element on the outer cladding and as a structural material. Wagner also conceived the entire interior furnishings of the building, defining hierarchical structures by means of a precise use of materials and a conscious formal language. Among his further well-known buildings is St. Leopold’s Church am Steinhof (1905/06), whose side windows were designed by Moser. Both structures were exhibited in the form of architectural models.

Adolf Loos (1870-1933), a committed opponent of the Vienna Secession, postulated the functional, simple and lucid in architecture and utilitarian objects, something that extended to interiors as well. He became a groundbreaker for modern architecture as a whole. Loos’s famous residence on Michaelerplatz (1909-11) opposite the Imperial Court Building, a model of which is on view in the exhibition, caused a scandal on account of its facade, stripped of all ornamentation.

Subsequent Developments

The vital creativity of the artists active in Vienna around 1900, their supplanting of ornamental Art Nouveau by a clear, functional style, and the rapprochement between fine and applied art – manifested especially in the Wiener Werkstätte and the source of the gesamtkunstwerk idea – had a lasting influence on the development of art. The close cooperation among the artists encompass-sed a new definition of interdisciplinary art which would be ramified at the Bauhaus and in the De Stijl movement. The effects of the gesamtkunstwerk can in fact be traced down to the present day, the strict line between “high” and “low” art having by now well-nigh disappeared. Such contemporary projects as those of the architects Zaha Hadid, Frank Gehry and Gio Ponti, and the artists Tobias Rehberger, Jorge Pardo and Takashi Murakami, reflect continuations of the gesamtkunst-werk idea.

The exhibition was especially enriched by eighty loans from the Leopold Museum, which harbors the largest Egon Schiele collection worldwide. The Albertina in Vienna, with one of the most significant and extensive collection of prints and drawings in the world, lent forty drawings. From the Kunsthaus Zug, Stiftung Sammlung Kamm, the most important collection of Viennese modern works outside Austria, came fifty loans. Further distinguished lenders in Vienna were the Belvedere and the MAK – Austrian Museum of Applied Arts, the Wien Museum, the Vienna Secession, and the Schoenberg Center, the BA-CA Kunstforum Wien, and the University of Applied Arts. Further generous support was provided by the Neue Galerie, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, all New York; the Fondazione Musei Civici di Venezia, the Galleria Internazionale d’Arte Moderna di Ca’ Pesaro, Venice; the Kunstmuseum Basel, Kunsthaus Zurich, and Kunstmuseum Bern.

The exhibition was conceived by guest curator Barbara Steffen. From 1988 to 1992 Ms. Steffen was assistant curator at the Eli Broad Foundation, Los Angeles, from 1992 to 1998 head of European projects at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, and from 2006 to 2008 curator of contemporary art at the Albertina, Vienna. Her major exhibitions include the “Gerhard Richter” retrospective at the Albertina (2008), “Francis Bacon and the Tradition of Art” at the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, and Fondation Beyeler, Basel (2003-04), and “Visions of America – The Ileana Sonnabend Collection” at the Essl Museum, outside Vienna. She has been awarded the “Maecenas” art sponsoring prize in 2000, and the “Gustav Klimt Prize” in 1998. Ms. Steffen currently resides in Vienna.

The catalogue, edited for the Fondation Beyeler by Barbara Steffen, was published in German and English by Hatje Cantz Verlag, Ostfildern. It contains essays by distinguished experts: Christian Meyer (Schoenberg Center, Vienna), Franz Smola (Leopold Museum, Vienna), Barbara Steffen, Beate Susanne Wehr, Alfred Weidinger (Belvedere), and Richard Zettl (University of Applied Arts, Vienna), as well as a chronology by Michiko Kono (Fondation Beyeler assistant curator). 272 pages, 289 illustrations, including 276 full-color illustrations, ISBN 978-3-905632-85-9.

More images:

Egon Schiele, Mutter und Kind (Femme avec enfant/(Mother and Child), 1910. Crayon, aquarelle et gouache, 55.7 x 36.7 cm © Fondation Beyeler 2010, Switzerland

Egon Schiele, Häuser und bunte Wäsche (Maisons avec linge de couleur/Houses and Colorful Laundry ), 1914. Crayon, aquarelle et gouache, 55.7 x 36.7 cm © Fondation Beyeler 2010, Switzerland

Oskar Kokoschka, Der irrende Ritter (Autoportrait/Errant Knight, Self-Portrait), 1915. Huile sur toile, 89.5 x 180 cm © Fondation Beyeler 2010, Switzerland

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

George Bellows and the American Experience

The Columbus Museum of Art celebrates one of the city’s best loved native sons with George Bellows and the American Experience, on view August 23, 2013 – January 4, 2014. The exhibition highlights the importance of CMA’s Bellows collection, widely recognized as the best in the world, and showcases the artist’s vibrant, groundbreaking works. Bellows and the American Experience brings together more than 35 of his most stunning works from museums and private collections throughout the United States. The world of his paintings comes to life through period photographs, descriptions by his friends, thoughts from his own record book, as well as caricatures and conservation studies.

“Stag at Sharkey’s”

“For the past year our Bellows paintings have traveled the world as part of a major retrospective that drew crowds to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, and the Royal Academy in London,” said CMA Curator of American Art Melissa Wolfe. “We’re excited to welcome them home and to be able to celebrate the profound impact George Bellows had, and continues to have, on the art world.”

Polo at Lakewood

George Wesley Bellows, one of the country’s most celebrated twentieth-century artists, is especially known for his controversial boxing images and evocative urban scenes. His career, although brief, was dazzling. An avid athlete, Bellows played shortstop for the Buckeyes before leaving Columbus in 1904 to study art in New York City. Within five years the young artist had taken the American art world by storm, winning every major award and rising from art student to acclaimed luminary.

“Stag at Sharkey’s”

He was a college dropout at twenty-two, a member of the prestigious National Academy at twenty-seven, the country’s most important lithographer at thirty-five, and tragically dead from a ruptured appendix at forty-three. In these twenty-one years of professional life, Bellows created an enormous body of work that conveyed his lively sense of humor, his seemingly effortless talent, and his political and social sensibilities. Bellows captured the essence of his subjects and delivered it to his viewers with perception, compassion, and, occasionally outrage.

George Bellows
Blue Snow, The Battery
Columbus Museum of Art, Museum Purchase: Howald Fund
Bellows - New York

George Bellows
New York
National Gallery of Art, Washington
Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon

From an excellent (short) article in the Columbus Monthly:
Bellows won fame with tough-fisted sports paintings, yet portraits of wife Emma and daughters Anne and Jean, such as

“Emma and Her Children,”

reflect his affection for his Midwestern, family-oriented beginnings. (Ironically, his parents discouraged his art, though his father was a prominent architect.)

The Museum will host an international scholarly symposium November 8 and 9 that will explore many of the issues and concerns central to the artist’s work.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Manet/Velázquez: The French Taste for Spanish Painting

The first major exhibition ever to examine the impact of 17th-century Spanish painting on 19th-century French artists, March 4–June 29, 2003 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, featured nearly 240 paintings and works on paper spanning several centuries of European art at the most astounding levels of achievement.

On view were some 130 paintings by Velázquez, Murillo, Ribera, El Greco, Zurbarán, and other masters of Spain's Golden Age as well as masterpieces by the 19th-century French artists they influenced, among them Delacroix, Courbet, Millet, Degas, and, most notably, Manet. On view at The Metropolitan Museum of Art from March 4 through June 8, 2003, Manet/Velázquez: The French Taste for Spanish Painting also included works by American artists such as Sargent, Chase, Eakins, Whistler, and Cassatt, who studied in France but learned to paint like Spaniards.

As the title indicates, at the core of the exhibition was the "Spanish" work of Edouard Manet, whose career thoroughly reveals the importance of Spanish painting by the middle of the 19th century. Manet/Velázquez featured more paintings by Manet (more than 30) and Velázquez (14 autograph or attributed) than any American exhibitions since their eponymous retrospectives at the Metropolitan Museum more than a decade ago.

The exhibition was organized by The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Réunion des Musées Nationaux/Musée d'Orsay.

Manet/Velázquez: The French Taste for Spanish Painting offered an extraordinarily rich look at one of the most pivotal epochs in Western art, when French artists of the 19th century shifted their focus from the idealism of Italian Renaissance art and embraced the naturalism of Spanish Baroque painting, setting the course for many of the greatest achievements of French Realism, Impressionism, and Post-Impressionism.

Prior to the 19th century, Spanish art had been virtually ignored in France and was thus poorly represented in French collections. This changed with Napoleon's Spanish campaigns (1808–14), which marked a turning point in the French perception of Spanish painting, as the Emperor in Paris sought to obtain key works from every corner of Europe. Although these works were ultimately returned to their countries of origin, just a few decades later, in 1838, King Louis Philippe inaugurated the Galerie Espagnole at the Louvre, placing on view his extraordinary collection of hundreds of Spanish paintings. Although this collection was itself sold in 1853, these paintings left an indelible impression in France. In subsequent years, the works of the Spanish masters became increasingly familiar to Parisians as the Louvre acquired more Spanish paintings and artists traveled to Madrid to study the masterpieces at the Prado. By the 1860s, the French taste for Spanish painting was perceptible at each Paris Salon.

Manet/Velázquez featured major works – many of which had rarely been lent to exhibitions – from the Museo del Prado in Madrid, the Musée d'Orsay and Musée du Louvre in Paris, and public and private collections from across Europe and North America. Among the highlights were

Velázquez's Count-Duke of Olivares (1622-27, Hispanic Society of America, New York)

and The Buffoon Pablo de Valladolid (ca. 1636-37, Museo del Prado),

Zurbarán's Saint Francis in Meditation (ca. 1635-40, National Gallery, London),

Ribera's The Clubfooted Boy (1642, Musée du Louvre),

Murillo's Immaculate Conception of the Venerables (1660-65, Museo del Prado),

and Goya's Bullfight Scene: "Suerte de Varas" (1824, The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles).

Works by French artists included

Delacroix's Saint Catherine, after Zurbarén (1824, Musée des Beaux-Arts de Béziers),

Courbet's La Signora Adela Guerrero, Spanish Dancer (1851, Musées royaux des Beaux-Arts de Belgique),

Degas's Thérèse De Gas (ca. 1863, Musée d'Orsay),

and Renoir's Romaine Lacaux (1864, The Cleveland Museum of Art).

Of the more than 30 Manets in the exhibition were many of the artist's acclaimed "Spanish" pictures, including

The Spanish Ballet (1862, The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C.),

Mlle V… in the Costume of an Espada (1862, The Metropolitan Museum of Art),

The Dead Toreador (1864, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.),

and The Balcony (1868-69, Musée d'Orsay).

American artists who went to Paris to study in the 19th century also succumbed to the allure of Spanish art, and the exhibition at the Metropolitan included

John Singer Sargent's copies after Velázquez

(Buffoon Don Juan de Austria (after Velazquez) John Singer Sargent - 1879)

and El Greco

(John Singer Sargent - The Descent from the Cross, after El Greco)

as well as such iconic images as

Dr. Pozzi at Home (1881, U.C.L.A. Hammer Museum),

The Daughters of Edward Darley Boit
(1882, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston),

and the Metropolitan's own Madame X (Madame Gautreau, née Virginie Avegno) of 1882.

Mary Cassatt, William Merritt Chase, Thomas Eakins, and James Abbott McNeill Whistler were also represented by multiple works in the exhibition.

Manet/Velázquez: The French Taste for Spanish Painting was accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue, including essays by the organizing curators and by several notable scholars of this period. Published by The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the catalogue will be distributed by Yale University Press.

The exhibition was conceived by Gary Tinterow, Engelhard Curator of 19th-Century European Painting at the Metropolitan Museum, and organized by him with Genevieve Lacambre, Honorary Curator in Chief of the Musée d'Orsay, Paris, with the assistance of Deborah Roldán, Research Assistant in the Department of European Paintings at The Metropolitan Museum of Art.