‘Painted In Mexico’ And Celebrated Around The World

The vitality and inventiveness of artists in 18th-century New Spain (Mexico) is the focus of the exhibition Painted in Mexico, 1700–1790: Pinxit Mexici, opening April 24 (and running through July 22, 2018) at The Metropolitan Museum of Art (The Met Fifth Avenue, Floor 2, Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Exhibition Hall, Gallery 999).

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Juan Patricio Morlete Ruiz (Mexico, 1713–1772), Portrait of Doña María Tomasa Durán López de Cárdenas, c. 1762, Oil on canvas. 40 3/16 × 33 1/16 in. (102 × 84 cm). Galería Coloniart. Collection of Felipe Siegel, Anna and Andrés Siegel, Mexico City

Through some 112 works of art (primarily paintings), many of which are unpublished and newly restored, the exhibition will survey the most important artists and stylistic developments of the period and highlight the emergence of new pictorial genres and subjects. Painted in Mexico, 1700–1790 is the first major exhibition devoted to this neglected topic.

Prior to its presentation at The Met, the exhibition was shown at the Palacio de Cultura Banamex-Palacio de Iturbide (Fomento Cultural Banamex), Mexico City (June 29–October 15, 2017), and it is currently on view at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (November 19, 2017–March 18, 2018).

During the first century after the conquest of Mexico, artists from Europe—mainly immigrants from Spain—met the growing demand for images of all types, both religious and secular. Some of these artists established family workshops in Mexico that endured for generations. By the middle of the 17th century, artists born and trained in Mexico, responding to the mounting needs of both individual and institutional patrons, had risen to prominence and developed pictorial styles that reflected the changing cultural climate.

The 18th century ushered in a period of artistic splendor, as local schools of painting were consolidated, new iconographies were invented, and artists began to organize themselves into academies. Attesting to the artists’ extraordinary versatility, painters whose monumental works cover the walls of chapels, sacristies, choirs, and university halls were often the same ones who produced portraits, casta paintings (depictions of racially mixed families), folding screens, and intimate devotional images. The volume of work produced by the four generations of Mexican painters that spanned the 18th century is nearly unmatched elsewhere in the vast Hispanic world.

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Attributed to José de Ibarra (Mexico, 1685–1756), From Spaniard and Mulatta, Morisca, c. 1730. Oil on canvas. 64 9/16 × 35 13/16 in. (164 × 91 cm). Private Collection, Madrid

The growing professional self-awareness of artists during the period led many educated painters not only to sign their works to emphasize their authorship but also to make explicit reference to Mexico as their place of origin through the Latin phrase pinxit Mexici (painted in Mexico). This expression eloquently encapsulates the painters’ pride in their own tradition and their connection to larger, transatlantic trends.

Painted in Mexico, 1700–1790 unfolds in seven major chronological and thematic sections:

Great Masters introduces the works of leading painters around whom others congregated, emphasizing intergenerational ties and the steady coalescence of a local tradition. It highlights the role of Juan Rodríguez Juárez in stimulating a stylistic change and spurring the establishment of an independent painting academy around 1722. Through an academic approach based on copying and drawing—aided by the arrival of prints and paintings from Europe—these artists and their contemporaries perfected their compositional skills, refined their depiction of space and architecture, and paid increasing attention to the anatomical correctness of figures.

Master Storytellers and the Art of Expression considers the resurgence of narrative painting in 18th-century Mexico in response to a growing demand for images that could convey complex sacred stories from the Bible and the lives of the saints. Often conceived as series, these works decorated the interiors of churches, convents, colleges, and other public spaces. An emphasis on domestic interiors and everyday details served to establish a connection with the viewer and humanize sacred content. Continue reading

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“Visitors to Versailles (1682–1789)” Comes to The Metropolitan Museum of Art, April 16–July 29, 2018

The Palace of Versailles has attracted travelers since it was transformed under the direction of the Sun King, Louis XIV (1638–1715), from a simple hunting lodge into one of the most magnificent public courts of Europe. French and foreign travelers, royalty, dignitaries and ambassadors, artists, musicians, writers and philosophers, scientists, grand tourists and day-trippers alike, all flocked to the majestic royal palace surrounded by its extensive formal gardens.

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The Arrival of the Papal Nuncio, 1690s. Oil on canvas, 48 7/8 x 61 in. (124 x 155 cm). Collection of Aline Josserand-Conan, Paris. Photo by Christophe Fouin

Versailles was always a truly international setting. Countless visitors described their experiences and observations in correspondence and journals. Court diaries, gazettes, and literary journals offer detailed reports on specific events and entertainments as well as on ambassadorial receptions that were also documented in paintings and engravings.

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Dress (grande robe à la française). French, 1775–85. Silk brocade (woven 1760s), H. from neck to train 59 7/8 in. (152 cm). The Kyoto Costume Institute (AC11075 2004-2AB) © The Kyoto Costume Institute, photo by Takashi Hatakeyama

Visitors to Versailles (1682–1789) is was previously on view at the Château de Versailles through February 25, 2018.

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Charles-Gabriel Sauvage, called Lemire père (French, 1741– 1827). Figure of Louis XVI and Benjamin Franklin, 1780– 85. Porcelain, 12 3/4 x 9 1/2 x 6 in. (32.4 x 24.1 x 15.2 cm). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Gift of William H. Huntington, 1883 (83.2.260)

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Charles Cozette (French, 1713–1797). Folding Screen with Views of the Château de Versailles from the Avenue de Paris and the Cour du Cheval Blanc at the Château de Fontainebleau, ca. 1768–70. Wood, oil on canvas, painted leather, 79 1/2 x 153 1/8 in. (202 x 389 cm). Collection of Monsieur and Madame Dominique Mégret, Paris. Photo by F. Doury

Opening April 16 at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Visitors to Versailles (1682–1789) will track these many travelers from 1682, when Louis XIV moved his court to Versailles, up to 1789, when Louis XVI (1774–1792) and the royal family were forced to leave the palace and return to Paris. (Exhibition Location: The Met Fifth Avenue, The Tisch Galleries, Gallery 899, 2nd floor) Continue reading

The Metropolitan Museum of Art Announces Schedule of Spring and Summer 2018 Exhibitions

The Metropolitan Museum of Art has announced the schedule of its upcoming spring and summer seasons. Highlights of the upcoming 2018 exhibition season are:

Before/On/After: William Wegman and California Conceptualism

Exhibition Dates: January 17–July 15, 2018

Exhibition Location: Gallery 851

William Wegman, Before-After

William Wegman, Before/On/After (detail), 1972. Gelatin silver prints. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Vital Projects Fund Inc. Gift, through Joyce and Robert Menschel, 2016. © William Wegman, Courtesy the artist

Opening at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on January 17, the exhibition Before/On/After: William Wegman and California Conceptualism will survey Conceptual Art as it developed in Southern California in the 1970s. The show is occasioned by the artist William Wegman’s extraordinary recent gift to the Museum of 174 short videos that he made between 1970 and 1999—his entire career in the medium. A 90-minute selection of videos from this gift will be shown along with photographs and drawings by Wegman as well as drawings, prints, and photographs by his contemporaries in Southern California—John Baldessari, Vija Celmins, Douglas Huebler, Ed Ruscha, and others.

Wegman took up video while teaching painting at the University of Illinois in the mid-1960s. Like many artists using the then-new medium, Wegman appreciated video—like photography—for its lo-fi reproducibility and anti-artistic qualities. Also, unlike film, where the negative must be developed and processed before viewing, video was like a sketchbook that allowed revision in real time.

It wasn’t until Wegman moved to Southern California in 1970 that his video production took off. Although he lived in Los Angeles for only three years, the artist found his method: short, staged vignettes using everyday items in which expectations are reversed and puns and homonyms pursued to absurd conclusions.

The artist’s key early collaborator for most of these short videos was his dog, a Weimaraner called Man Ray, who enthusiastically participates in the goings-on. In contrast to other early adopters of video, Wegman eschewed an aesthetic of boredom to focus on humorous, improvised scenarios in which he deflated the pretensions of painting and sculpture while also lampooning the pieties and self-seriousness of Conceptual Art—at a time when it was being codified and institutionalized. Beneath the slacker humor, however, are poignant points about failure and the reversal of expectations that resonate with work by other West Coast Conceptualists—the friends and fellow travelers also featured in the exhibition.

Before/On/After: William Wegman and California Conceptualism is organized by Doug Eklund, Curator in the Department of Photographs at The Met.

Birds of a Feather: Joseph Cornell’s Homage to Juan Gris

Exhibition Dates: January 23–April 15, 2018

Exhibition Location: The Met Fifth Avenue, Gallery 918, Lila Acheson Wallace Wing

Joseph Cornell (American, 1903–1972). Homage to Juan Gris, 1953–54.

Joseph Cornell (American, 1903-1972). Homage to Juan Gris, 1953-54. Box construction. Philadelphia Museum of Art, Purchased: John D. McIlhenny Fund. Art © The Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY

On October 22, 1953, Joseph Cornell wrote in his diary: “Juan Gris/Janis Yesterday.” He was referring to the previous day’s outing, when, on one of his frequent trips to the gallery district in midtown Manhattan, Cornell visited the Sidney Janis Gallery on East 57th Street. Among a presentation of approximately 30 works by modern artists, one alone captivated Cornell—Juan Gris’s celebrated collage The Man at the Café (1914), which is now a promised gift to the Museum as part of the Leonard A. Lauder Cubist Collection.

This shadowy profile of a fedora-topped man immediately inspired Cornell to begin a new series: some 18 boxes, two collages and one sandtray created in homage to Juan Gris, whom he called a “warm fraternal spirit.”

When he began the Gris series in 1953, Cornell was an established artist, two decades into his career. His shadow box assemblages —a genre he is credited with pioneering—were exhibited regularly in major galleries and museums, and acquired by collectors and museums for their permanent collections. Cornell gathered his banal yet evocative materials during his forays in New York City or Long Island. His sources were many and varied; he made his assemblages from old journals and French history textbooks, postage stamps, fishing tackle, cordial glasses, clay pipes, and “flotsam and jetsam” to use his words. From these disparate fragments, Cornell wove together concepts, subjects, and lives that fascinated him. The complex network of references contained in each box often obscures, if not conceals, the artist’s intended theme or subject. For instance, in his Gris series, Cornell incorporated reproductions of Gris’s works into only one box, as well as in two collages and the one sandtray. Without these reproductions and the inscriptions Cornell made on some of the constructions, most of the works in his Gris series would be indistinguishable from those in his Aviary and Hotel series from around the same time – although for his homages to Gris he used the great white-crested cockatoo exclusively. Few viewers would have known about Cornell’s extensive notes found in his diaries and his Gris dossier, a working source file in which he stored materials for inspiration or later use. Cornell’s research on Gris included the acquisition of biographical publications and reviews on the Spanish-born artist, and he bolstered his knowledge of Gris and his art through conversations with artist friends such as Marcel Duchamp and Robert Motherwell.

In The Man at the Café, Gris worked in oil paint and pasted newsprint to present a mysterious male figure reading a newspaper, which obscures his face. The shapes of the man’s stylized fedora and its prominent black shadow cast against the café wall held a particular fascination for Cornell. For the central figure of his Gris series, Cornell selected a white cockatoo to contrast with the dramatic blacks, but he also embedded a reference to Gris’s shadow play and the fedora’s silhouette. Indeed, the bird, or its distinctive silhouette, appears in all but two of the boxes, with Cornell mimicking the relationship between positive and negative space by pasting the bird print to a wood cutout, outlining it, or echoing its contours with black paper.

Although Gris remained the initial catalyst for the series, Cornell also incorporated allusions to his own passions and pastimes as revealed in the foreign language texts, hotel advertisements, and maps. An aficionado of ballet and opera, Cornell attended performances in New York City and contributed illustrations to the Dance Index, a periodical edited by New York City Ballet co-founder Lincoln Kirstein in the 1940s. The white, feathered and tulle costumes of the principals dancing Swan Lake and La Sylphide reminded him of birds. Cornell was also enamored with the nineteenth century, the era of the romantic ballet and bel canto singing, and wove these birds of song and stage into the Gris series as well.

Completed over a period of 13 years, Cornell’s series of Gris shadow boxes is more extensive in number than any other that the artist openly dedicated to one of his admired luminaries of stage, screen, literature, or the visual arts. The main protagonist of Cornell’s Juan Gris series is a bird—the great white-crested cockatoo—specifically, an image taken from a 19th-century print of the species that Cornell repeatedly used along with Photostats or silhouettes of the bird’s form to explore the fascinating shadows that Gris produced in his own practice. At The Met, the exhibition Birds of a Feather: Joseph Cornell’s Homage to Juan Gris will reunite for the first time nearly a dozen boxes from Cornell’s Gris series together with the Cubist masterpiece, The Man at the Café.

The exhibition is made possible by the Eugene V. and Clare E. Thaw Charitable Trust.

Birds of a Feather: Joseph Cornell’s Homage to Juan Gris inaugurates a series of dossier exhibitions under the auspices of the Leonard A. Lauder Research Center for Modern Art at The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

As part of its mission to ensure the ongoing study of modern art with a particular focus on Cubism, the Leonard A. Lauder Research Center offers fellowships, lectures, and other programs to support new scholarship on the Leonard A. Lauder Cubist Collection and other 20th-century art. Each dossier exhibition will be related to a work or group of works from the Collection. Birds of a Feather: Joseph Cornell’s Homage to Juan Gris and future projects in the series are intended to provide a deeper context for understanding Cubism, its protagonists, and greater influences, to contribute exceptional scholarship, and to offer a fresh approach to the subject of looking and thinking about modern art.

The exhibition is curated by Mary Clare McKinley, an independent art historian based in London and former Assistant Curator in the Leonard A. Lauder Research Center for Modern Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

A catalog, made possible by the Leonard A. Lauder Research Center for Modern Art, accompanies the exhibition and contains a major essay, written by McKinley, and the first-ever documentary catalog of Cornell’s Gris series.

Thomas Cole’s Journey: Atlantic Crossings

Exhibition Dates: January 30–May 13, 2018

Exhibition Location: The Met Fifth Avenue, Floor 1, Gallery 746, The Erving and Joyce Wolf Gallery

Thomas Cole (American, 1801–1848). View from Mount Holyoke, Northampton, Massachusetts,

Thomas Cole (American, 1801-1848). View from Mount Holyoke, Northampton, Massachusetts, after a Thunderstorm-The Oxbow (detail), 1836. Oil on canvas, 51 1/2 x 76 in. (130.8 x 193 cm). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Gift of Mrs. Russell Sage, 1908

Met Museum to Explore Transatlantic Career of Renowned Painter Thomas Cole

Exhibition Marks 200th Anniversary of the Artist’s Arrival in America

Celebrated as one of America’s preeminent landscape painters, Thomas Cole (1801–1848) was born in northern England at the start of the Industrial Revolution, emigrated to the United States in his youth, and traveled extensively throughout England and Italy as a young artist. He returned to America to create some of his most ambitious works and inspire a new generation of American artists, launching a national school of landscape art. Opening January 30, the exhibition Thomas Cole’s Journey: Atlantic Crossings will examine, for the first time, the artist’s transatlantic career and engagement with European art. With Cole’s masterwork The Oxbow (1836) as its centerpiece, the exhibition will feature more than three dozen examples of his large-scale landscape paintings, oil studies, and works on paper. Consummate paintings by Cole will be juxtaposed with works by European masters including J. M. W. Turner and John Constable, among others, highlighting the dialogue between American and European artists and establishing Cole as a major figure in 19th-century landscape art within a global context. The exhibition marks the 200th anniversary of Cole’s arrival in America.

The exhibition was organized by Elizabeth Kornhauser, the Alice Pratt Brown Curator of American Painting and Sculpture at The Met, and Tim Barringer, Paul Mellon Professor of the History of Art at Yale University, with Chris Riopelle, Curator of Post-1800 Paintings at the National Gallery, London.

The exhibition follows the chronology of Cole’s life, beginning with his origins in recently industrialized northern England, his arrival in the United States in 1818, and his embrace of the American wilderness as a novel subject for landscape art of the New World. Early works by Cole will reveal his prodigious talent. After establishing himself as the premier landscape painter of the young United States, he traveled back to Europe.

The next section will explore in depth Cole’s return to England in 1829–31 and his travels in Italy in 1831–32, revealing the development of his artistic processes. He embraced the on-site landscape oil study and adopted elements of the European landscape tradition reaching back to Claude Lorrain. He learned from contemporary painters in England, including Turner, Constable, and John Martin, and furthered his studies in landscape and figure painting in Italy. By exploring this formative period in Cole’s life, the exhibition will offer a significant revision of existing accounts of his work, which have, until now, emphasized the American aspects of his formation and identity. The exhibition will also provide new interpretations of Cole’s work within the expanded contexts of the history of the British Empire, the rise of the United States, the Industrial Revolution, and the American wilderness, and Romantic theories of history.

Upon his return to America, Cole applied the lessons he had learned abroad to create the five-part series The Course of Empire (1834–36). These works reveal a definition of the new American Sublime that comes to its fullest expression in The Oxbow (1836). Finally, the exhibition concludes with an examination of Cole’s legacy in the works of the next generation of American landscape painters whom Cole personally mentored, notably Asher B. Durand and Frederic E. Church.

Exhibition design is by Brian Butterfield, Senior Exhibition Designer; graphics are by Ria Roberts, Graphic Designer; and lighting is by Clint Ross Coller and Richard Lichte, Lighting Design Managers, all of The Met Design Department. After the presentation at The Met, the exhibition will be shown at The National Gallery, London (June 11–October 7, 2018).

The exhibition will be accompanied by a catalog suitable for both scholars and the general public. With new information on Cole’s life and revisionist interpretations of his major work, the publication will also feature research by The Met’s conservation team into Cole’s methods as a painter, illuminating this previously neglected area. The catalog will be available for purchase in The Met Store (hardcover, $65). The catalog is made possible by the William Cullen Bryant Fellows of The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

A series of Education programs will complement the exhibition. MetLiveArts will feature a 40-minute acoustic performance by Sting in the Museum’s Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium on April 24, 25, and 26 (7:30 p.m.). Prior to each concert, ticket holders will enjoy a special viewing of the exhibition with curators Elizabeth Kornhauser and Tim Barringer. The April 24 performance of “Sting: Atlantic Crossings” is for Members only. Tickets will be available for purchase in early 2018.

On April 8 (2 p.m.), as part of MetSpeaks, American artist Ed Ruscha will discuss his seminal five-part Course of Empire series (1992 and 2003–5) with his friend, the author, and artist Tom McCarthy, who resides in London. Tickets for this event will be available for purchase.

Met curator Elizabeth Kornhauser and paintings conservator Dorothy Mahon will explore Cole’s work methods and techniques with artist Stephen Hannock on February 7 (6:00 p.m.), revealing the layers of meaning in Cole’s iconic painting, The Oxbow. This program is part of the Conversations With… series.

Elizabeth Kornhauser will moderate a Sunday at The Met discussion on April 15 (2 p.m.) on Cole’s role as a proto-environmental artist with scholars Alan Braddock and Rebecca Bedell and artist Michel Auder. (Auder’s 2017 work The Course of Empire was shown at the Documenta exhibition in Kassel, Germany.) These programs are free with Museum admission.

In a Gallery Performance on April 27 (6:00 p.m.), exhibition co-curator Tim Barringer will explore the musical and literary references that inspired Cole. This program is free with Museum admission, advance registration is required.

Education programs are made possible in part by the Clara Lloyd-Smith Weber Fund and The Mr. and Mrs. Raymond J. Horowitz Foundation for the Arts.

The exhibition, organized by The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, and The National Gallery, London, is made possible by The Peter Jay Sharp Foundation. Additional support is provided by the Henry Luce Foundation, White & Case LLP, the Enterprise Holdings Endowment, and the Terra Foundation for American Art. It is also supported by an Indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities.

Leon Golub: Raw Nerve

Exhibition Dates: February 6–May 27, 2018

Exhibition Location: The Met Breuer, Floor 2

Leon Golub (American, 1922–2004). Gigantomachy II (detail), 1966

Leon Golub (American, 1922-2004). Gigantomachy II (detail), 1966. Acrylic on linen, 9 ft. 11 1/2 in. x 24 ft. 10 1/2 in. (303.5 x 758.2 cm). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Gift of The Nancy Spero and Leon Golub Foundation for the Arts and Stephen, Philip, and Paul Golub, 2016 (2016.696). © The Nancy Spero and Leon Golub Foundation for the Arts/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY

Opening February 6, 2018 at The Met Breuer, Leon Golub: Raw Nerve will present a selective survey of this groundbreaking artist’s work. Timed to celebrate the 2016 gift to The Met of the monumental painting Gigantomachy II (1966) from The Nancy Spero and Leon Golub Foundation for the Arts and Stephen, Philip, and Paul Golub, the exhibition will present highlights from Golub’s long, eminent career, drawn from distinguished private collections as well as the artist’s estate. Golub’s unflinching portrayals of power and brutality have profound relevance today, as does his belief in the ethical responsibility of the artist.

Born in Chicago, Golub (1922-2004) occupies a singular position in the history of mid to late 20th-century art. His devotion to the figure, his embrace of expressionism, his amalgamation of modern and classical sources, and his commitment to social justice distinguish his practice as an artist. The centerpiece of Leon Golub: Raw Nerve is Gigantomachy II, a commanding, epic work measuring nearly 10 by 25 feet. Created in 1966, two years after Golub joined the Artists and Writers Protest Group and began to lobby actively against the Vietnam War, this political allegory recounts the story of a mythic battle between the Olympian gods and a race of giants. In Golub’s contemporary retelling, there are no heroes, only anonymous men in various states of distress, their bodies riven by scars and wounds. Alongside this powerful and terrifying work, Leon Golub: Raw Nerve will feature paintings from all of the artist’s most important series, including Pylon, White Squad, Riot, and Horsing Around. These will be accompanied by a 1970 painting of a victim of the Vietnam War, as well as a suite of early paintings that reflect Golub’s study of antiquity, and a group of unsettling portraits of the Brazilian dictator Ernesto Geisel. Also on view will be works on paper that represent subjects of longstanding interest to the artist, from mercenaries, interrogators, and the victims of violence to political figures, nudes, and animals, all of them rendered in the raw, visceral style for which he is justly celebrated. Taken together, the works in Leon Golub: Raw Nerve, which spans the entire arc of Golub’s career, attest to his incisive perspective on the catastrophes that afflict human civilization as well as his critique of violence and belligerent masculinity.

Leon Golub: Raw Nerve is organized by Kelly Baum, Cynthia Hazen Polsky and Leon Polsky Curator of Contemporary Art in The Met’s Department of Modern and Contemporary Art. Continue reading

Art: “Edvard Munch: Between the Clock and the Bed” at The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Born and raised in Norway, Edvard Munch (1863–1944) was one of the most celebrated and controversial artists of his generation. With only brief formal training in painting, Munch was largely self-taught. He was a prolific artist, creating approximately 1,750 paintings, 18,000 prints, and 4,500 watercolors, in addition to sculpture, graphic art, theater design, and film. Munch was associated with the Symbolist and Expressionist movements and their legacies. He exhibited widely throughout Europe, affecting the trajectory of modernism in France, Germany, and Norway. His influence can be seen in the work of such artists as Georg Baselitz, Marlene Dumas, Katharina Grosse, Asger Jorn, Bridget Riley, and Jasper Johns, among others.

Edvard Munch, Self-Portrai - Between the Clock and the Bed, 1940–43

Edvard Munch, Self-Portrait: Between the Clock and the Bed, 1940–43; oil on canvas; 58 7/8 x 47 7/16 in. (149.5 x 120.5 cm); photo: courtesy the Munch Museum, Oslo

Although Munch attained notoriety early in his career for his haunting depictions of human anxiety and alienation that reflected modern experience, he believed that his artistic breakthrough occurred around 1913 at the age of 50.Throughout his career, Munch regularly revisited subjects from his earlier years, exploring them with renewed inspiration and intensity. Self Portrait: Between the Clock and the Bed (1940–43) was one of his final such works and it serves as a lens to reassess Munch’s body of work. Opening November 15 at The Met Breuer, the exhibition Edvard Munch: Between the Clock and the Bed (November 15, 2017February 4, 2018, The Met Breuer, Floor 3) will feature 43 of the artist’s compositions created over a span of six decades, including 16 self-portraits and works that have never before been seen in the United States.

The exhibition was on view at San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (June 24–October 9, 2017). After the New York presentation, it will be on view at Munch Museum, Oslo (May 12–September 9, 2018).

The thematic arrangement of the exhibition will reveal the frequency with which Munch revisited and reworked certain subjects. It will present him as an artist who was as revolutionary in the 20th century, as he was when he made a name for himself in the Symbolist era. Major themes and motifs of Munch’s last paintings can be traced back to his earlier works. Displaying his early and late works together allows visitors to identify innovations in composition, treatment, and technique.

The first canvas in the exhibition—Self Portrait: Between the Clock and the Bed—is also one of the last works the artist painted. It will serve as a touchstone and guide to the other works on view. This remarkable painting shows the artist’s bedroom, with a door opening to the studio beyond. The artist stands emotionless between the grandfather clock, which—having no face or hands—exists outside of time, and the bed, in which the span of a human’s life takes place.

Fifteen other self-portraits—a category to which Munch returned often—follow the artist’s path from youth to old age. These fascinating “self-scrutinies” as Munch called them are, by turns, documentary, confessional, psychological, and fictionalized.

Seven works in the exhibition will be shown in the United States for the first time: Lady in Black (1891); Puberty (1894); Jealousy (1907); Death Struggle (1915); Man with Bronchitis (1920); Self-Portrait with Hands in Pockets (1925-26), and Ashes (1925). Also on view will be Sick Mood at Sunset, Despair (1892)—the earliest depiction and compositional genesis of The Scream, one of the most recognizable images in modern art—which is being displayed outside of Europe for only the second time in its history.

The exhibition will include many deeply personal works from Munch’s own collection, now held by the Munch Museum, as well as works from institutions and private lenders from around the world. The paintings demonstrate Munch’s liberated, self-assured painting style as well as his technical abilities, including bravura brushwork, innovative compositional structures, the incorporation of visceral scratches and marks on the canvas, and his exceptional use of intense, vibrant color.

The exhibition is curated by Gary Garrels, Elise S. Haas, Senior Curator of Painting and Sculpture at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, with Caitlin Haskell Associate Curator of Painting and Sculpture; Sheena Wagstaff, Leonard A. Lauder Chairman, Department of Modern and Contemporary Art at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, with Sabine Rewald, Jacques and Natasha Gelman Curator, and Michele Wijegoonaratna, Research Associate; and Jon-Ove Steihaug, Director of Collections and Exhibitions, the Munch Museum, Oslo.

At The Met Breuer, exhibition design is by Michael Langley, Exhibition Design Manager; graphics are by Chelsea Amato and Anna Rieger, Graphic Designers; and lighting is by Clint Ross Coller and Richard Lichte, Lighting Design Managers, all of The Met Design Department.

A fully illustrated catalog will accompany the exhibition. Edited by Gary Garrels, Jon-Ove Steihaug, and Sheena Wagstaff, the publication features a foreword by celebrated Norwegian author Karl Ove Knausgaard. It includes essays by Patricia Berman, Theodora L. and Stanley H. Feldberg Professor of Art, Wellesley College; Allison Morehead, associate professor, Queen’s University, Ontario; Richard Schiff, Effie Marie Cain Regents Chair in Art, University of Texas at Austin; and Mille Stein, paintings conservator, Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage Research (NIKU). Published by The Metropolitan Museum of Art and distributed by Yale University Press, the catalog is available in The Met Store (hardcover, $45). The catalog is made possible by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

In conjunction with the exhibition, conductor Leon Botstein, soprano Kirsten Chambers, and The Orchestra Now will perform Arnold Schoenberg‘s operatic monodrama Erwartung (Expectation) on December 3 at 2 pm in the Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium (The Met Fifth Avenue). The program, which is part of the MetLiveArts Sight and Sound series, is called Schoenberg, Munch, and Expressionism. Tickets start at $30 (series, $75).

On Saturday, January 13, at 11 am and 2 pm, Family Tours at The Met Breuer, for families with children ages 3–11, will explore the exhibition. Space is limited; places will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis. Free with Museum admission.

The exhibition is made possible by Leonard A. Lauder. It is supported by an Indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities. It is organized by The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; and The Munch Museum, Oslo.

Rodin at The Met

Exhibition Dates: September 16, 2017–January 15, 2018

Exhibition Location: The Met Fifth Avenue, B. Gerald Cantor Sculpture Gallery (Gallery 800) and Gallery 809

On the centenary of the death of Auguste Rodin (1840–1917), The Metropolitan Museum of Art will celebrate its historic collection of the artist’s work in Rodin at The Met, opening September 16, 2017. (The exhibition is made possible by the Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Foundation.)

Rodin_2017_DetailPage_Desktop_3360x1720_051817_v1

Auguste Rodin (French, Paris 1840-1917 Meudon), Orpheus and Eurydice, modeled probably before 1887, carved 1893, marble. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of Thomas F. Ryan, 1910

Nearly 50 marbles, bronzes, plasters, and terracottas by Rodin, representing more than a century of acquisitions and gifts to the Museum, will be displayed in the newly installed and refurbished B. Gerald Cantor Sculpture Gallery (Gallery 800). The exhibition will feature iconic sculptures such as The Thinker and The Hand of God, as well as masterpieces such as The Tempest that have not been on view in decades. Paintings from The Met’s collection by some of Rodin’s most admired contemporaries, including his friends Claude Monet (1840–1926) and Pierre Puvis de Chavannes (1824–1898), will be presented in dialogue with the sculptures on display.

The extraordinary range of The Met’s holdings of Rodin’s work will be highlighted in an adjacent gallery (Gallery 809) with a selection of drawings, prints, letters, and illustrated books, as well as photographs of the master sculptor and his art. This focused presentation will introduce visitors to the evolution of Rodin’s draftsmanship and demonstrate the essential role of drawing in his practice. It will also address Rodin’s engagement with photographers, especially Edward Steichen (1879-1973), who served as a key intermediary in bringing Rodin’s drawings to New York.

Rodin at The Met begins a new chapter in the Museum’s long-standing engagement with Rodin. In 1912, The Met opened a gallery dedicated to Rodin’s sculptures and drawings—the first at the Museum devoted exclusively to the work of a living artist. Displayed in that gallery were almost 30 sculptures and, within a year, 14 drawings. During the late 20th century, the historic core of The Met’s Rodin collection was further enhanced by Iris and B. Gerald Cantor and their Foundation’s gifts of more than 30 sculptures, many of them from editions authorized by the artist and cast posthumously. Today, The Met’s holdings of Rodin’s art are among the largest and most distinguished in the United States. The exhibition will give visitors the opportunity to experience anew Rodin’s enduring artistic achievements.

Rodin at The Met is organized by Denise Allen, Curator in The Met’s Department of European Sculpture and Decorative Arts; Ashley Dunn, Assistant Curator in the Department of Drawings and Prints; and Alison Hokanson and Asher Ethan Miller, both Assistant Curators in the Department of European Paintings.

Education programs will accompany the exhibition including a Sunday at The Met program “Rediscover Rodin” on October 15, a Picture This! Workshop on October 19, and a Met Signs Tour: Rodin at The Met with Emmanuel von Schack on Friday, November 3.

The display in Gallery 809 will close on January 15, 2018. The installation of paintings and sculptures in Gallery 800 will remain on permanent view with periodic rotations of selected works.

Save The Date: “Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between” at The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Exhibition Dates: May 4–September 4, 2017

Member Previews: May 2–May 3, 2017

Exhibition Location: The Met Fifth Avenue, Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Exhibition Hall, Floor 2

The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute spring 2017 exhibition, Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between, on view from May 4 through September 4, will examine Kawakubo’s fascination with the space between boundaries. This in-between space is revealed in Kawakubo’s work as an aesthetic sensibility, establishing an unsettling zone of oscillating visual ambiguity that challenges conventional notions of beauty, good taste, and fashionability. Not a traditional retrospective, this thematic exhibition will be The Costume Institute’s first monographic show on a living designer since the Yves Saint Laurent exhibition in 1983.

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Rei Kawakubo (Japanese, born 1942) for Comme des Garçons (Japanese, founded 1969). Cubisme, spring/summer 2007; Courtesy of Comme des Garçons. Photograph by © Craig McDean

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Rei Kawakubo (Japanese, born 1942) for Comme des Garçons (Japanese, founded 1969). 18th-Century Punk, autumn/winter 2016–17; Courtesy of Comme des Garçons. Photograph by © Paolo Roversi

In blurring the art/fashion divide, Kawakubo asks us to think differently about clothing,” said Thomas P. Campbell, Director of The Met. “Curator Andrew Bolton will explore work that often looks like sculpture in an exhibition that will challenge our ideas about fashion’s role in contemporary culture.”

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Rei Kawakubo (Japanese, born 1942) for Comme des Garçons (Japanese, founded 1969). Inside Decoration, autumn/winter 2010–11; Courtesy of Comme des Garçons. Photograph by © Craig McDean

The exhibition will feature approximately 150 examples of Kawakubo’s womenswear designs for Comme des Garçons, dating from the early 1980s to her most recent collection. Objects will be organized into eight dominant and recurring aesthetic expressions of interstitiality in Kawakubo’s work: Fashion/Anti-Fashion, Design/Not Design, Model/Multiple, Then/Now, High/Low, Self/Other, Object/Subject, and Clothes/Not Clothes. Kawakubo breaks down the imaginary walls between these dualisms, exposing their artificiality and arbitrariness. Her fashions demonstrate that interstices are places of meaningful connection and coexistence as well as revolutionary innovation and transformation, providing Kawakubo with endless possibilities to rethink the female body and feminine identity.

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Rei Kawakubo (Japanese, born 1942) for Comme des Garçons (Japanese, founded 1969); Courtesy of Comme des Garçons. Photograph by © Paolo Roversi

Rei Kawakubo is one of the most important and influential designers of the past 40 years,” said Andrew Bolton, Curator in Charge of The Costume Institute. “By inviting us to rethink fashion as a site of constant creation, recreation, and hybridity, she has defined the aesthetics of our time. Continue reading

Museum Watch: “Irving Penn: Centennial” at The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Exhibition Dates: April 24–July 30, 2017

Exhibition Location: The Met Fifth Avenue, Gallery 199

Irving Penn is one of the most important modern masters of photography and has inspired future photographers of all genres with his portraits, still lifes and fashion pictures. He is most famously known for having worked as a magazine photographer for Vogue and created numerous personal projects. His work forms significant parts of the world’s most renowned public and private photography collections.

Single Oriental Poppy (B)

Irving Penn (American, 1917–2009), Single Oriental Poppy, New York, 1968. Dye transfer print, 1987. 16 ⅞ × 21 ⅛ in. (42.9 × 53.7 cm). Promised Gift of The Irving Penn Foundation to The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. © The Irving Penn Foundation

The Metropolitan Museum of Art will present a major retrospective of the photographs of Irving Penn to mark the centennial of the artist’s birth. Over the course of his nearly 70-year career, Mr. Penn (1917–2009) mastered a pared-down aesthetic of studio photography that is distinguished for its meticulous attention to composition, nuance, and detail. Opening April 24, 2017, Irving Penn: Centennial will be the most comprehensive exhibition to date of the work of the great American photographer.

Rochas Mermaid Dress (Lisa Fonssagrives-Penn)

Irving Penn (American, 1917–2009), Rochas Mermaid Dress (Lisa Fonssagrives-Penn), Paris, 1950. Platinum-palladium print, 1980, 19 ⅞ × 19 ¾ in. (50.5 × 50.2 cm). Promised Gift of The Irving Penn Foundation to The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. © Condé Nast Publications, Inc.

The exhibition follows the 2015 announcement of the landmark promised gift from The Irving Penn Foundation to The Met of more than 150 photographs by Penn, representing every period of the artist’s dynamic career with the camera. The gift will form the core of the exhibition, which will feature more than 200 photographs by Penn, including iconic fashion studies of Lisa Fonssagrives-Penn, the artist’s wife; exquisite still-lifes; Quechua children in Cuzco, Peru; portraits of urban laborers; female nudes; tribesmen in New Guinea; and color flower studies. The artist’s beloved portraits of cultural figures from Truman Capote, Pablo Picasso, and Colette to Ingmar Bergman and Issey Miyake will also be featured. Rounding out the exhibition will be photographs by Penn that entered The Met collection prior to the promised gift.

The exhibition is organized by Jeff L. Rosenheim, Curator in Charge of The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Department of Photographs, and Maria Morris Hambourg, an independent curator and a former Met colleague who founded the department.

After Dinner Games

Irving Penn (American, 1917–2009), After-Dinner Games, New York, 1947. Dye transfer print, 1985. 22 ¼ × 18 ⅛ in. (56.5 × 46 cm). Promised Gift of The Irving Penn Foundation to The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. © Condé Nast Publications, Inc.

Irving Penn was born June 16, 1917, in Plainfield, N.J. Educated in public schools, he attended the Philadelphia Museum School of Art from 1934 to 1938, where Alexey Brodovitch (a Russian-born photographer, designer and instructor who is most famous for his art direction of fashion magazine Harper’s Bazaar from 1934 to 1958) taught him advertising design. While training for a career as an art director, Penn worked the last two summers for Harper’s Bazaar magazine as an office boy and apprentice artist, sketching shoes. At this time he had no thought of becoming a photographer.

His first job on graduating in 1938 was the art director of the Junior League magazine, later he worked in the same capacity for Saks Fifth Avenue department store. At the age of 25, he quit his job and used his small savings to go to Mexico, where he painted a full year before he convinced himself he would never be more than a mediocre painter.

Mouth (for L'Ore¦üal)

Irving Penn (American, 1917–2009), Mouth (for L’Oréal), New York, 1986. Dye transfer print. 18 ¾ × 18 ⅜ in. (47.6 × 46.7 cm).. Promised Gift of The Irving Penn Foundation to The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. © The Irving Penn Foundation

Marlene Dietrich (B

Irving Penn (American, 1917–2009), Marlene Dietrich, New York, 1948. Gelatin silver print, 2000 . 10 × 8 1/8 in. (25.4 × 20.6 cm). Promised Gift of The Irving Penn Foundation to The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. © The Irving Penn Foundation

Returning to New York, he won an audience with Alexander Liberman, art director of Vogue magazine, who hired Penn as his assistant, specifically to suggest photographic covers for Vogue. The staff photographers didn’t think much of his ideas, but Liberman did and asked Penn to take the pictures himself. Using a borrowed camera, and drawing on his art background and experience, Penn arranged a still life consisting of a big brown leather bag, beige scarf and gloves, lemons, oranges, and a huge topaz. It was published as the Vogue cover for the issue of October 1, 1943, and launched Penn on his photographic career.

Penn soon demonstrated his extraordinary capacity for work, versatility, inventiveness, and imagination in a number of fields including editorial illustration, advertising, photojournalism, portraits, still life, travel, and television.

Naomi Sims In Scarf

Irving Penn (American, 1917–2009), Naomi Sims in Scarf, New York, ca. 1969. Gelatin silver print, 1985. 10 ½ × 10 ⅜ in. (26.7 × 26.4 cm). Promised Gift of The Irving Penn Foundation to The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. © The Irving Penn Foundation

Truman Capote (4 of 4)

Irving Penn (American, 1917–2009), Truman Capote, New York, 1948. Platinum-palladium print, 1968. 15 7/8 × 15 3/8 in. (40.3 × 39.1 cm). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Purchase, The Horace W. Goldsmith. Foundation Gift, through Joyce and Robert Menschel, 1986. © The Irving Penn Foundation

In his earlier work Penn was fond of using a particular device in his portrait work, replacing it with a fresh one from time to time. At one time he placed two backgrounds to form a corner into which his subject was asked to enter. It was, as Penn explains, “a means of closing people in. Some people felt secure in this spot, some felt trapped. Their reaction made them quickly available to the camera.” His subjects during this ‘corner period’ included Noel Coward, the Duchess of Windsor, and actor Spencer Tracy, most of whom complied readily. Continue reading