”The latest fashion . . . is absolutely necessary for a painting. It’s what matters most.”
—Édouard Manet, 1881
”Impressionism, Fashion, and Modernity presents a revealing look at the role of fashion in the works of the Impressionists and their contemporaries. Some eighty major figure paintings, seen in concert with period costumes, accessories, fashion plates, photographs, and popular prints, highlight the vital relationship between fashion and art during the pivotal years, from the mid-1860s to the mid-1880s, when Paris emerged as the style capital of the world.
Manet’s sentiments were widely held during the period from the mid-1860s to the mid-1880s, when Impressionism came of age and Paris emerged as the style capital of the world. At a time of great urban change, stale conventions had little appeal for a generation of artists and writers who sought to give expression to the pulse of contemporary life in all its nuanced richness. With the rise of the department store, the advent of ready-made clothing, and the proliferation of fashion magazines, those at the forefront of the avant-garde—from Manet, Claude Monet, and Auguste Renoir to Charles Baudelaire, Stéphane Mallarmé, and Émile Zola—turned a fresh eye to contemporary dress, embracing la mode as the harbinger of la modernité. The novelty, vibrancy, and fleeting allure of the latest trends proved seductive. Without rivaling the meticulous detail of society portraitists such as James Tissot and Alfred Stevens, or the graphic flair of fashion plates, the Impressionists nonetheless engaged similar strategies in their depictions of stylish Parisians. For painters of modern life, fashion mattered.”
Some parts of the exhibition that intrigued me more:
The exhibition opens with large-scale figure paintings of the 1860s that responded to the tenor of the times and the urging of critics who clamored for pictures that were every bit as stylish and elegant as Haussmann’s newly renovated Paris. Artists from Monet to Tissot gravitated to contemporary dress as the key to invigorating threadbare traditions with modern sentiment.
Black silk gowns—such as those on view from the Manchester City Galleries and the collection of Gilles Labrosse, Paris—conveyed worldly elegance and sensuous élan. The color black vivified sitters ranging from the beguiling bohemian Nina de Callias in Manet’s Lady with Fans (Musée d’Orsay, 1873); to the quirkily extravagant artist’s model and budding actress Ellen Andrée in Manet’s The Parisienne (Nationalmuseum, Stockholm, ca. 1875) and the refined Madame Charpentier in Renoir’s portrait of 1878 (The Metropolitan Museum of Art).
Yet there’s more visual stimuli to enjoy..
”Impressionism, Fashion, and Modernit ”exhibition will be open from February 26 to May 28,2013