Thursday, November 3, 2016

African-American Masters at Three Major Paris Museums

Perhaps for the first time ever, works by several master African-American artists are simultaneously on display at three major Paris museums.

THE COLOR LINE (October 4, 2016 - January 15, 2017)

I have already written about The Color Line, the groundbreaking exhibition at the Musée du quai Branly Jacques Chirac, in an ETBP blog post:

The Color Line - Buzz

Curator Daniel Soutif has borrowed the vast majority of the works in this show from private collectors, galleries, and museums in the U.S. Lenders include the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Dr. and Mrs. Walter O. Evans, and the Michael Rosenfeld Gallery.

The catalog (Flammarion, 49€) contains 400 pages of images, essays, and references. Published in French, it presents a comprehensive review of the exhibition.

Portrait of Booker T. Washington
Henry Ossawa Tanner
1917 Oil on canvas
State Historical Museum of Iowa, Des Moines

Fifty-nine artists are represented in The Color Line. Below is a partial list of their names:

  • Charles A. Alston
  • Jean-Michel Basquiat
  • Beauford Delaney
  • Palmer Hayden
  • Edmonia Lewis
  • Faith Ringgold
  • Augusta Savage
  • Henry Ossawa Tanner
  • Hale Woodruff

This exhibition is so rich in depth and breadth that serious visitors should either plan to spend the entire day at the museum or foresee making multiple visits.

The Color Line
Musée du quai Branly Jacques Chirac
37, quai Branly
75007 Paris
Hours: Tuesday, Wednesday, Sunday - 11 AM to 7 PM; Thursday through Saturday - 11 AM to 9 PM. Closed Mondays.
Entry fee: 10€
Reduced fee: 7€

LAMENTATION (October 20, 2016 - January 15, 2017)

Lamentation over the Dead Christ
Kehinde Wiley
2008 Oil on canvas
© Kehinde Wiley Studio

For the last ten years, I've been obsessed with stained glass.
-- Kehinde Wiley

Several monumental works by Kehinde Wiley are being shown at the Petit Palais in the artist's first solo exhibition in France. They consist of paintings and stained glass and can be found in the heart of the museum's permanent collections.

A contemporary portraitist, Wiley explores religious iconography in this exhibition. He makes artistic reference to Christ in several paintings and depicts the Virgin Mary in stained glass. This is the first time he has represented the Madonna in his work; he sometimes uses a male figure to portray her.

Six works of stained glass are installed in a hexagonal structure in the "Galerie des Grands Formats" on the first floor of the museum. Four monumental paintings that hang in one of the rooms dedicated to 19th-century works on the ground floor.

Petit Palais
Avenue Winston Churchill
75008 Paris
Hours: Tuesday through Sunday from 10 AM to 6 PM. Closed Mondays.
Entry to the Kehinde Wiley exhibition is free.

AMERICA AFTER THE FALL: PAINTINGS FROM THE 1930s (October 12, 2016 to January 30, 2017)

The Musée de l'Orangerie is hosting America after the Fall: Paintings from the 1930s, a traveling exhibition that it co-curated with the Art Institute of Chicago. The show represents a large cross section of styles and artistic themes that capture the volatile pulse of the United States as well as the state of flux of American art during the 1930s.

Works by several of the U.S.' greatest artists, including Georgia O'Keeffe, Grant Wood, and Stuart Davis, are displayed in the exhibition. Among these great artists are two African Americans - Aaron Douglas and William Henry Johnson.

Douglas' Aspiration and Johnson's Street Life, Harlem are part of the show. Aspiration is on loan from the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, while Street Life, Harlem is on loan from the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

Aaron Douglas
1936 Oil on canvas

Street Life, Harlem
William H. Johnson
ca. 1939-1940 Oil on plywood

Many of the works in this exhibition are traveling abroad for the first time. America after the Fall: Paintings from the 1930s will travel to London's Royal Academy after it closes in Paris on January 30, 2017.

America after the Fall: Paintings from the 1930s
Musée de l'Orangerie
Jardin des Tuileries
Place de la Concorde
Hours: Wednesday through Monday - 9 AM to 6 PM. Closed Tuesdays.
Entry fee: 9€
Reduced fee: 6,50€
Free entry on the first Sunday of the month
Free entry for persons less than 26 years of age


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