French Paintings from the Musée Fabre, Montpellier is an exhibition of 84 outstanding masterpieces never before seen in this country. Covering three centuries of French art the exhibition features works by great artists such as Nicolas Poussin, Laurent de la Hyre, Simon Vouet, Jean-Baptiste Greuze, Jacques-Louis David, Eugène Delacroix, Gustave Courbet, Edgar Degas, Alfred Sisley and Frédéric Bazille. The exhibition brings together an exceptional array of iconic paintings covering all artistic movements from 1600 to 1900, including Baroque, Rococo, Neoclassicism, Romanticism, Realism and Impressionism. It represents the work of more than 55 of the greatest French painters working in every genre, from portraiture, religious and mythological subjects and landscapes to still lifes, and provides an unparalleled, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to enjoy the brilliance and beauty of French art. The selection gives a comprehensive overview of French art, following its evolution from the highly sophisticated and classical art of Poussin in the early 17th century to the complete rethinking of painting by Courbet at the threshold of Impressionism in the second half of the 19th century.
The Musée Fabre in Montpellier, in the south of France, owes its name to its benefactor, François-Xavier Fabre, who was himself a successful painter and one of David’s most talented students. In a gift in 1825 and through a bequest on his death in 1837, he gave his own works as well as those of outstanding French artists such as Poussin, La Hyre, Vouet and Greuze. When the banker Antoine Valedau (1777–1836) died in Montpellier, his collection of old master paintings, including works by Greuze, which will be in the exhibition, was also bequested to the city of Montpellier. But perhaps the most important collection was given to the museum in 1868 by the passionate collector Alfred Bruyas, the son of a banker, who became an artist and collector of works by Delacroix, Rousseau, Corot and Courbet.
This exhibition’s thorough and well-balanced overview makes it evident that French art is, in contrast to Italian art, less the result of the cultural identity and economical wealth of individual provincial centres and more the mirror of the politics and power of the capital, Paris. The exhibition expands our understanding of French culture considerably, through refining our perception of French art from the Golden Age until the origins of Impressionism. It assembles a vast selection of breathtaking masterpieces such as Portrait of Alphonse Leroy by David and Portrait of Aspasia by Delacroix.More >
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