Sunday, November 11, 2012

French Paintings at the Wadsworth

During the twentieth century, many art museums deaccessioned their 19th century academic paintings, only to find themselves impoverished today during the realist reawakening. The Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington is one such notorious example.

One museum that did not dump their academic collection is the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford, Connecticut. In fact, the Atheneum has recently been acquiring paintings, such as "The Schism," by Jehan-Georges Vibert, above (1875, oil on panel, 15x21 inches).

Above: Henri Paul Motte (1846-1922) The Trojan Horse. 
Writing in the December issue of Fine Art Connoisseur magazine, the museum's recently retired curator, Eric Zafran chronicles the history of the museum's French painting collection, which includes Lefebvre, Ribot, Tissot, Merle, Bouguereau, Leroux, Meissonier, and de Neuville.

Paintings by those artists are currently on view in a special exhibition at the Wadsworth. The show also includes more familiar French artists such as Toulouse-Lautrec, van Gogh, Gauguin, Redon, Vuillard, Bonnard, Poussin, Claude, Boucher, and Chardin. 

Medieval to Monet: French Paintings in the Wadsworth Atheneum, through January 27, 2013
Book: Renaissance to Rococo: Masterpieces from the Collection of the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art
Book on Vibert: Cavaliers and Cardinals: Nineteenth-Century French Anecdotal Paintings


Christoffer Gertz Bech said...

Vibert is so amazing. I would love to see his book on painting get the same treatment as Solomon's (some nice colour reproductions, a foreword by J. Gurney ...). I think it's worth noting that he - contrary to so many others - recommend painting on a white ground. That's probably why his paintings have such clear and intense colours.

Anonymous said...

I love the overturned Bible in the foreground... it makes it so you can almost remember the argument the two men just had, like you'd been watching them bicker for hours.

Rich said...

What a condensed affair: they were real storytellers, cramming a whole book into one single painting. The least of Vibert's details explains something; see the overturned Bible, for instance.

I'm also fond of this moonlit Horse, including the grand ancient ambient Greek architecture depicted.

Imagine these buildings as some hardware architectural design: The Trojan would be adding a surprisingly up-to-date-note here:-)

mdmattin said...

It got my day off to a good start to see the Vibert Schism on your blog. I had seen it in the flesh at the exhibition of French art from the Wadsworth up the river in Springfield last spring; must have spent a good 20 minutes standing before it and cackling gleefully at all the great touches. My favorite is the silver spoon jammed in the weighty tome for a bookmark.

Anonymous said...

Looks like the Corcoran has fallen on hard times.

I searched for years for a copy of Vibert's Science of Painting 1892 English translation edition and thought I had the deal of the century when I finally found it in immaculate shape for $15.00, only to see it reprinted a couple of years later. Reprints.....bah! Humbug!

jeff jordan said...

So what are they debating about, anyway? 22 Angels on the head of a pin, as opposed to 24?