Three exhibitions currently showing : Moreau, Dessins français, Impressionnisme

1. François Boucher (1703-1770)
View of a Rustic House, c. 1760
Black and white chalk,
black pastel, grey wash - 23 x 35.5 cm
Paris, Fondation Custodia
Photo : Fondation Custodia

From Watteau to Degas : French drawings in the Frits Lugt Collection

Paris, Institut Neerlandais, from 11 February to 11 April 2010

The only fault of the exhibitions generally held at the Fondation Custodia is that they are too short. This one, although based on its own collections, follows the rule as it will have lasted only two months whereas New Yorkers were able to enjoy it for three months at the Frick Collection.
The selection covers the 18th and 19th centuries but the Paris show begins with some 17th century sheets not in the catalogue, including some very beautiful ones by Claude Lorrain. Besides very well known works, the exhibition provides visitors with the chance to discover several recent acquisitions for the first time and which we had mentioned on our site here already (A View of the Banks of the Tiber with the Temple of Vesta by David [1], Portrait of Julie Forestier in a Medallion by Ingres [2], Close to Gibraltar by Eugene Delacroix [3], The Plain of Vaugirard by Leon Bonvin [4])….

2. Théodore Géricault (1791-1824)
Forest with Two Figures and a Cow near Barbizon, c. 1813-1814
Pen - 12.7 x 20.4 cm
Paris, Fondation Custodia
Photo : Fondation Custodia

3. Achille-Etna Michallon (1796-1822)
Rome, Seen from the Vatican, 1818-1821
Pen - 28.3 x 43.6 cm
Paris, Fondation Custodia
Photo : Fondation Custodia

We had overlooked others such as, the View of a Rustic House by Francois Boucher, a beautiful drawing on blue paper in pastel and chalk (ill. 1) purchased in 2007, Forest with Two Figures and a Cow near Barbizon by Gericault (ill. 2) ; 2007), Rome, Seen from the Vatican by Achille-Etna Michallon (ill. 3) ; 2006) and a Landscape near Gruchy by Jean-Francois Millet (ill. 4) ; 2007). Some other drawings acquired even more recently are presented although not in the catalogue and will be covered here in an upcoming news item.

4. Jean-François Millet (1814-1875)
Landscape near Gruchy, c. 1854 (?)
Pen and brown ink, watercolour - 21.8 x 28.4 cm
Paris, Fondation Custodia
Photo : Fondation Custodia

Colin B. Bailey, Susanne Grace Galassi and Maria van Berge-Gerbaud, De Watteau a Degas : Dessins francais de la Collection Frits Lugt, Fondation Custodia, 2009, 335 p., 45 euros. ISBN : 978-90-78655-06-0.

Visitor information : Fondation Custodia (Institut Neerlandais), 121, rue de Lille, 75007 Paris. Tel : +33 (0)1 47 05 75 19. Open every day except Monday from 13 to 19. Rates : 6 euros (full price), 4 euros (reduced price).
Fondation Custodia website.

4. Gustave Moreau (1826-1898)
Jacob and the Angel
Wax - 24 x 12.5 x 10.5 cm
Paris, Musée Gustave Moreau
Photo : RMN

Gustave Moreau. The Man with the Wax Figures

Paris, Musee Gustave Moreau, from 10 February to 17 May 2010

Although they have been displayed in a glass cabinet in its museum on the rue de la Rochefoucauld for the last few years, Gustave Moreau’s sculptures are still not well known. It is also true of course that the artist himself did not talk much about this aspect of his work. Comprising a total of fifteen, they were never presented to the public while he was still alive and their status is not really well determined as Moreau never discussed them. Are these studies for his canvases, as is most likely the case ? Did the painter also attempt to become a sculptor as did many of his fellow artists ? The catalogue raises several questions about the final purpose of these works. In any case, these fifteen wax figures, analyzed by the C2RMF for the occasion and nicely enhanced in this temporary presentation, are of very high quality. The museum layout highlights their parallels when possible with paintings and drawings of the same subject. Some wax pieces by several of his contemporaries (Degas, Paul Dubois, Emmanuel Fremiet, Ernest Meissonnier…) provide points of comparison and round out the exhibition.

Collective works, Gustave Moreau. L’homme aux figures de cire, Somogy Editions d’Art, 2009, 160 p., 35 euros. ISBN : 978-2-7572-0323-1.

Visitor information : Musee Gustave Moreau, 14 rue de la Rochefoucault, 75009 Paris. Tel : +33(0)1 48 74 38 50. Open every day except Tuesday, from 10 to 17.15. Rates : 7.50 euros (full price), 6.50 euros (reduced price).
Website for the Musee Gustave Moreau.

6. Gustave Caillebotte (1848-1894)
Oarsman in a Top Hat
Oil on canvas - 90 x 117 cm
Private collection
Photo : RMN

Impressionism along the Seine

Giverny, Musee des Impressionismes, from 1st April to 18 July 2010.

Impressionism will be the theme of several exhibitions in Normandy this summer, with the high point being the major retrospective organized at the Musee des Beaux-Arts in Rouen. We hope that the latter, highlighting the image of the city of Rouen as seen by Monet and his friends, will be more in-depth than the one presented by the museum in Giverny. This assembly of about fifty paintings, with nothing in common other than their theme, does not represent a cohesive subject except for their iconographic similarities. The catalogue offers only four essays and does not present any accompanying entries.
Let us point out however that visitors to the exhibition will find, alongside several paintings on loan from the Musee d’Orsay during its refurbishment, some masterpieces which are rarely available to the public as they come from private collections, notably The Boat Outing, known as Oarsman in a Top Hat, by Gustave Caillebotte (ill.) and The Seine at Courbevoie by Georges Seurat. A drive to Giverny on a beautiful spring day is always sure to please.

Under the guidance of Marina Ferretti Bocquillon, L’Impressionisme au fil de la Seine, Silvana Editoriale, 2010, 144 p., 29 euros. ISBN : 9788836616190.

Buy this book now.

Visitor information : Musees des Impressionismes, 99 rue Claude Monet, 27620 Giverny. Tel : +33(0)2 32 51 94 65. Open every day from 10 to 18. Rates : 6.50 euros (full price), 4.50 and 3.50 (reduced prices).
Website for Musee des Impressionismes.

Version française

3. 4.

Didier Rykner, mardi 4 mai 2010


[1] See news item, in French, of 17/5/06.

[2] See news item, in French, of 12/12/04.

[3] See news item, in French, of 17/2/06.

[4] In the review of the 2008 Salon du Dessin, we had announced its purchase by the Fondation Custodia without publishing a reproduction and referring to a news item which was never written…The five drawings acquired by the Fondation Custodia at that time will be included in the upcoming article about the Foundation.

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