This exceptional presentation exploring the history of French painting consists of almost one hundred twenty canvasses by some of the most exceptional masters.
This exceptional presentation exploring the history of French painting consists of almost one hundred twenty canvasses by some of the most exceptional masters, including Georges de La Tour, Nicolas Poussin, Claude Le Lorrain, Charles Le Brun, François Boucher, Jean-Honoré Fragonard, Jean Simeon Chardin, Antoine Watteau, Jacques Louis David, Eugene Delacroix, Jean August Ingres, Théodore Rousseau, Edgar Dégas, Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Paul Cézanne, Paul Gauguin, Alfred Sisley, Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, Yves Klein and Balthus. The paintings have been obtained on loan from some of the most famous museums in France, including the Louvre, the Musée d'Orsay, the Picasso Museum and the Georges Pompidou National Center of Contemporary Art.
Claude Joseph Vernet, "Tempete de soir," Louvre, Paris
The exhibition seeks to present the history of French painting through the prism of formal experiments undertaken with light and shadow. This issue fascinated many artists during the last four centuries, beginning with Georges de La Tour and Claude Le Lorrain, through the painters of the Barbizon school and the Impressionists, to contemporary artists.
Jean Honore Fragonard, "Le Berceau," Amiens, Musee de PicardieInitially, French painters primarily showed interest in strong light and shadow effects caused by strong sources of light or air movements. They subsequently abandoned these experiments for a time, and the masters of French Classicism exhibited a certain distrust for sharp light, caring primarily for clarity of composition and harmony of color, as can be seen from the works of Nicolas Poussin. Likewise leading painters of the 18th century like Jean-Honoré Fragonard or François Boucher betrayed a penchant for more uniform tones of light and shadow and a lighter color palate, designed to reflect the seeming freedom of the Rococo era.
During the 19th century, the successors of Eugene Delacroix sought out means with which to reveal the feelings of the individual solitarily facing nature, a force humans seemed to forget while living in urban environments.
Claude Monet, "Meditation, Madame Monet au canapé," Musee d'Orsay, Paris
Impressionism, represented in the exhibition by the works of Edgar Dégas, Claude Monet, Alfred Sisley and Pierre-Auguste Renoir, was a period during which the painting glorified daylight. Monet in particular saturated his paintings with light, opening the way toward abstractionism. The Symbolists, in crossing the borders of reality through poetic means, in turn influenced such artists as Pablo Picasso or, somewhat later, Jean Dubuffet.
Today we no longer speak of works filled with light, but of intelligent works; the concept of light has been replaced with that of reason. The journey that the exhibition constitutes should be understood as a singular attempt at presenting the history of French art in its entire inexplicitness, which allows for highly varied interpretation of the paintings that have been brought together - both those of the highest rank and those of lesser status. The exhibition also aims to present some contemporary reflections about art and an interpretation of changes that have occurred more recently.
|Pierre-Auguste Renoir, "Gabrielle a la rose," Musee d'Orsay, Paris||Georges Braque, "Toilette devant la fenetre," Musee National d'Art Moderne Centre Pompidou|
"Shadows and Lights" was organized by the Ministry of Culture and Media of the Republic of France, the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Poland, the Royal Palace in Warsaw and the Association of French State Museums, with the support of the French Institute in Warsaw. The exhibition was previously presented in Budapest, and will subsequently travel to Bucharest.
Exhibition under the honorary patronage of the President of the Republic of France Jacques Chirac and the President of the Republic of Poland Aleksander Kwasniewski. Concept and curators: Fabrice Herrgott, director of the Museums of Strasbourg, and Emmanuel Starcky, deputy director general of the National Directorate of French Museums.