Want to Feel like You're at the Louvre? Visit the French Affair Exhibition Now in Final Weeks

Want to Feel Like You're at the Louvre? Visit the French Affair Exhibition Now in Final Weeks

Fairfield University student Emma Wagner '19 looks a painting at The French Affair exhibition.

Fairfield University student Emma Wagner '19 takes in Nicolas de Largillière's painting "Christ in the House of Martha and Mary," ca. 1690 - 1695.

Drawn from the peerless holdings of The Horvitz Collection—one of the world’s most comprehensive collections of early modern French art— A French Affair: Drawings and Paintings exhibition is on view at the Fairfield University Art Museum now through March 29.

History, mythology, poetry, and portraiture provided a vast range of subject matter for French artists of the 17th, 18th and early 19th centuries. Drawn from the peerless holdings of The Horvitz Collection—one of the world’s most comprehensive collections of early modern French art—this exhibition features paintings and drawings in all these genres by such celebrated artists as Charles Le Brun, Nicolas de Largillière, Jean-Honoré Fragonard, Jean-Baptiste Oudry and Anne-Louis Girodet de Roucy Trioson.

The impressive selection of over 50 drawings, some exhibited with related prints, focuses on a particular category—designs for book illustration—thereby highlighting not only the creative inventiveness of the artists who formulated lavish visual imagery from the written word, but also the rich literary traditions of France and the vibrant book publishing industry they spawned.

Particularly rich is the drawings exhibition component of this two-part presentation, "Imaging Text," which highlights for visitors the importance of book illustration and the robust publishing trade in France as a catalyst for artistic invention. The new prominence of illustrations in printed books, and the heightened demand for draftsmen to produce such images, offered many artists entree into elite artistic, literary, and social circles beginning in the late 17th century. The choice selection of paintings from the same moment, with their bravura handling of light and color and masterful depictions of human form and inanimate objects, speaks to the rigorous artistic training and traditions, promoted by the French Academy and the Salon (the official annual art exhibition), in which all artists of the period—painters, sculptors, draftsmen, printmakers—were schooled.

Renowned for its breadth and quality, The Horvitz Collection has been the focus of many national and international exhibitions and scholarly publications, and it now contains nearly 2,000 drawings, paintings, and sculptures. The exhibition is curated by Alvin L. Clark, Jr., Curator, The Horvitz Collection and the J.E. Horvitz Consultative Curator Emeritus, Department of Drawings, Division of European and American Art, Harvard Art Museums/Fogg. An illustrated catalogue of the drawings ($10) is available.

In conjunction with the exhibition, the Fairfield University Art Museum has organized a full roster of public programs, two of which are upcoming:

Wednesday, February 27, 7-9 p.m.
Event: A Drawing Party
Drawing materials and light refreshments will be provided.
Bellarmine Hall Galleries and smART classroom, Bellarmine Hall
Co-sponsored by the Creative Life Residential College

Wednesday, March 6, 5 p.m.
Lecture: 18th-Century French Drawings
Elizabeth Rudy, Ph.D., Carl A. Weyerhaeuser Associate Curator of Prints, Harvard Art Museums
Bellarmine Hall, Diffley Board Room
Part of the Edwin L. Weisl Jr. Lectureships in Art History, funded by the Robert Lehman Foundation

All events are free of charge and open to the public. Advance registration is recommended.

For more information on the exhibition and related programs and to register for events, visit the museum’s website: fairfield.edu/museum.

Generous support for the exhibition is provided by the Robert and Mercedes Eichholz Foundation.
TownVibe is the exclusive media sponsor of the museum’s 2018-19 season in the Bellarmine Hall Galleries.

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