French Moderns: Monet to Matisse, 1850-1950

Exhibition Website

Mar 1 2017 - Jun 4 2017

McNay Art Museum

San Antonio, TX

French Moderns: Monet to Matisse, 1850-1950 showcases sixty-five works of art from the Brooklyn Museum’s renowned European collection. This selection privileges France as the artistic center of international Modernism from the mid-nineteenth to mid-twentieth centuries. Ranging widely in scale, subject matter, and style, these paintings, drawings, and sculptures were intended for public display and for private collections, and were produced by the era’s leading artists, those born in France as well as those who studied and showed there, including Pierre Bonnard, Gustave Caillebotte, Paul Cézanne, Marc Chagall, Camille Corot, Gustave Courbet, Edgar Degas, Jean-Léon Gérôme, Fernand Léger, Édouard Manet, Henri Matisse, Jean-François Millet, Claude Monet, Berthe Morisot, Gabriele Münter, Odilon Redon, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Auguste Rodin, Yves Tanguy, and Édouard Vuillard.

The works in the exhibition exemplify the avant-garde movements that defined modern art in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, tracing a shift from capturing the visual to evoking the idea, from an emphasis on naturalism to the rise of abstraction. The exhibition explores the themes of portraiture, landscape, and still life, providing an opportunity for a multi-dimensional and flexible installation. French Moderns is accompanied by an illustrated catalogue, co-authored by Rich Aste and Lisa Small, the exhibition’s organizers from the Brooklyn Museum. 

Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website

The years between the Revolution of 1848 and the end of World War II were characterised by profound social, intellectual, and political change in France. The art world, centred in Paris, also witnessed remarkable transformations as artists experimented with bold, expressive styles. Realism, Impressionism, Post-Impressionism, Symbolism, Fauvism, Cubism, Surrealism...All emerged in and around the French capital during this period, and had profound impacts on the Western artistic canon.

Whether you go or not, the exhibition catalog, French Moderns: Monet to Matisse 1850-1950, features 59 works, by 47 artists, from the Brooklyn Museum's renowned European collection, celebrating France as the artistic centre of international modernism from the mid-nineteenth to the mid-twentieth century. Organised into four sections, the works in this book exemplify the successive avant-garde movements that defined modern art in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, tracing a shift from naturalism to the rise of abstraction. Chapters on 'Landscape,' 'Still Life,' 'Portraits and Figures,' and 'The Nude,' invite the reader to discover comparisons and contrasts across time and mediums.

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  • European
  • Modernism
  • Impressionism
  • Surrealism
  • Abstraction
  • Paul Cézanne
  • Marc Chagall
  • Gustave Courbet
  • Edgar Degas
  • Édouard Manet
  • Henri Matisse
  • Claude Monet
  • Pierre-Auguste Renoir
  • Auguste Rodin
  • and others

Exhibition Venues & Dates