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French Moderns, featuring 60 works drawn from the collection of the Brooklyn Museum, chronicles one of the most dynamic, and beloved eras in the history of art. Divided by subject into four themes, Landscape--Still Life, Portraits and Figures, and the Nude--the exhibition shows how the basic conception of artmaking changed over the course of a century.
It begins with the academic painters, such as Gerome and Bouguereau, whose meticulous realism and traditional subjects conformed to the artistic canons of the 19th century. It includes the generation of painters such as Millet and Boudin, who used looser brushwork to depict less conventional subjects, such as the beaches of Normandy and peasants and their flocks in the environs of Paris. The Impressionists, led by Monet, Renoir, Cezanne, Degas and Manet, exploded the conventions of both subject matter and style, depicting everyday scenes with bright color and expressive brush strokes. While their work was initially met with hostility and scorn, they are now among the best-known artists of all time.
The generation that followed the Impressionists pushed the boundaries of art even further, allowing color, form and brushstroke to take precedence over subject matter as the focus of their art. With works by Matisse, Bonnard, Chagall and many others who were drawn to Paris in the early 20th century, the exhibition shows how expressionist and non-objective art evolved from the experiments of the 19th century. In addition, works by Rodin, Degas, and other artists show how the freeing of form in painting extended into sculpture as well.
Organized by the Brooklyn Museum
On view from October 9, 2018 to January 6, 2019