Published: July 15, 2003
Masterpieces from one of the world’s finest collections of French art will be on view July 27 through October 13 at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
The exhibition, “Old Masters, Impressionists and Moderns: French Masterworks from the State Pushkin Museum, Moscow,” encompasses 76 works surveying 250 years of French painting, and includes many works never seen in Los Angeles. Featured artists include Nicolas Poussin, Claude Lorrain, Jacques-Louis David, Paul Cézanne, Vincent van Gogh, Paul Gauguin, Henri Matisse, Claude Monet and Pablo Picasso, among others.
LACMA is the only West Coast venue for this exhibition, which was organized by the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.
The exhibition opens with Old Master paintings from the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries. Included in this gallery are Nicolas Poussin’s “Rinaldo and Armida” circa 1630, and Claude Lorain’s “The Abduction of Europa,” 1655. Poussin’s work exemplified the skillful rendering, balanced composition and elevated subject matter that made him an undisputed master of classical painting. Lorrain’s painting is a mythological landscape imbued with the serene light for which he is famous. Eighteenth Century works in the exhibition – among them defining works by Francois Boucher and Charles-Joseph Natoire, chart the rise of the French Rococo style.
By the late Eighteenth Century, Jacques-Louis David reigned as leader of the neoclassical style. The exhibition presents “Andromache Mourning Hector,” 1783, a painting the typified David’s classical approach to both subject matter and composition. One of David’s greatest students, Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, is represented by an exceptional work painted for the future czar of Russia, Alexander II. In “Virgin with Chalice,” 1841, Ingres places Mary between Saints Nikolai and Alexander Nevsky, the patron saints of Czar Nicholas I and the crown prince.
The exhibition then presents Nineteenth Century landscape paintings with several works by Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot, Gustav Courbet and Narcisse Virgile Diaz de la Peña.
The State Pushkin Museum is especially strong in French painting of the late Nineteenth and early Twentieth Centuries. The exhibition presents paintings by Monet including paintings from his mature period, none of which have previously been seen in the United States. Among the other classic Impressionist masterpieces are Renoir’s “In the Garden,” 1876, Degas’ “Dancer Posing for a Photographer,” 1875, and Pissarro’s “L’Avenue de l’ Opéra, Snow, Morning,” 1898. The exhibition will also present works by Charles Francois Daubigny, Edouard Manet, Alfred Sisley and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec.
Works like van Gogh’s rarely seen “The Prison Courtyard,” 1890, three canvases from Gauguin’s Tahiti period and several paintings by Cézanne will be presented.
The Twentieth Century is represented by works from two outstanding collections formed before the Russian Revolution by Moscow merchants Ivan Morozov and Sergei Shchukin. Among the paintings in Morozov’s collection are Pierre Bonnard’s “Summer in Normandy,” 1912, and Henri-Charles Manguin’s Fauve masterpiece “Bathing Woman,” 1906. From the Shchukin collection are several canvases by Picasso, including “Harlequin and His Companion (The Saltimbanques),” 1901, the rose period canvas “Spanish Woman from Mallorca,” 1905 and the Cubist work “The Violin,” 1912.
The show will conclude with several brilliantly colored paintings by Matisse, including “Goldfish,” 1912, and “Nasturtiums and The Dance,” 1912, and Henri Rousseau’s “Jaguar Attacking a Horse,” 1910.
For information, 323-857-6000 or visit www.lacma.org.
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