Published: February 7, 2012
In keeping with its mission to rediscover and celebrate women artists of the past and show their continued relevance, the National Museum of Women in Arts (NMWA) presents “Royalists to Romantics: Women Artists from the Louvre, Versailles and other French National Collections,” February 24⁊uly 29.
Celebrating the museum’s 25th anniversary, the exhibition features 77 paintings, prints and sculpture dating from 1750 to 1850 †many of which have never been seen outside of France. To develop the exhibition, NMWA spent months scouring the collections of dozens of French museums and libraries to cull rarely seen works by women artists.
“Royalists to Romantics” showcases these exceptional works, and reveals how the tumultuous period that saw the flowering of the court of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, the terrors of the French revolution, the rise and fall of Napoleon and the restoration of the monarchy affected the lives and careers of women artists.
Featuring 35 artists, including Marguerite Gérard, Antoinette Haudebourt-Lescot, Adélaide Labille-Guillard, Sophie Rude, Anne Vallayer-Coster and Elisabeth Vigée-Lebrun, the exhibition explores the political and social dynamics that shaped their world and influenced their work. Some of these artists flourished with support of such aristocratic patrons as Marie Antoinette, who not only appointed her favorite female artists Vigée-LeBrun and Vallayer-Coster to court, but advocated their acceptance into the Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture.
The exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated 135-page catalog published by Scala Publishers, London, with essays by noted scholars in the field.
To complement “Royalists to Romantics,” haute couture designer Celia Reyer is in residence at the NMWA, crafting an Eighteenth Century Brunswick or traveling jacket inspired by portraits in the exhibition. Visitors will have the opportunity to observe Reyer in the museum’s galleries working on the piece using historic materials and methods from noon to 5 pm on February 23, 25; March 4, 11, 18, 25, and April 1 and 8.
The museum is at 1250 New York Avenue, NW. For information, www.nmwa.org or 202-783-5000.
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