Edouard ManetOlympia© RMN-Grand Palais (Musée d'Orsay) / Hervé Lewandowski

Black Models: from Géricault to Matisse

By its multidisciplinary focus on the connection between the history of art and the history of ideas, the exhibition delves into aesthetic, political, social, and racial issues as well as into the realm of the imagination— revealed in the representation of the black model in visual arts from the French abolition of slavery (1794) to the present day.

The exhibition explores the changes in the representation of the black figure as central to the development of modern art. The models’ interactions with and influences on painters, sculptors and photographers are highlighted through major works by Théodore Géricault, Charles Cordier, Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux, Edouard Manet, Paul Cézanne and Henri Matisse, and through the photographs of Nadar and Carjat.

Designed as a long-term perspective, the exhibition focuses on three key periods: abolition (1794-1848), the new painting era up to the Matisse’s discovery of the Harlem Renaissance and the early 20th century avant-garde movement and the successive generations of postwar modern and contemporary artists.

Cécile Debray, Chief Heritage Curator, Director of the Musée de l’Orangerie
Stéphane Guégan, Scientific Advisor to the President of the Musées d’Orsay et de l’Orangerie
Denise Murrell, Ford Foundation Postdoctoral Research Scholar at the Wallach Art Gallery
Isolde Pludermacher, Chief Curator at the Musée d’Orsay

With the participation of:
Bibliothèque nationale de France

Exhibition also presented in:
New York, Wallach Art Gallery of Columbia University, from October 24, 2018 to February 10, 2019.
Pointe-à-Pitre, Memorial ACTe, from September 13 to December 29, 2019

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