Exhibition Preview

Delacroix and Modern Art

Historians have insisted for decades that modern art commenced in France with the Salon des Refusés of 1863, the special exhibition of works by Edouard Manet, James McNeill Whistler and others who had been refused admission that year to the state-sponsored annual exhibition in Paris of living French artists. Yet the principal characteristics invariably associated with Modernism – the artist’s self-conscious rejection of conventional or academic methods of representation in search of more vital forms of personal expression, and the exploration of the aesthetic autonomy of the means of representation, regardless of the subject represented – were in evidence long before the Salon des Refusés.

From the beginning of the nineteenth century, artists grappled with novel responses to ever-changing social, economic and intellectual conditions in their milieu. This is especially true in the theory and practice of British, and concurrently, French Romanticism. Artists and cultural pundits active in 1863 certainly endorsed that perspective in attributing the birth of modern art to a medley of earlier masters, from Théodore Géricault and J.M.W. Turner to Richard Parkes Bonington and, preponderantly, Eugène Delacroix, who died that very year.

Without attaching the tag of ‘first modern’ to any particular artist’s or school’s legacy, this exhibition examines the radical role as mentor and archetype that Eugène Delacroix and his art played during his lifetime and subsequent decades. As the bridge between Anglo-French Romanticism of the 1820s and the ‘New Painting’ that came to be called Impressionism in 1874, Delacroix’s influence reveals a progression by which, one after another, succeeding generations of avant-garde artists, however divergent their own artistic programs, engaged anew every aspect of his protean achievement.

Delacroix’s Connections


Gallery Preview

Edouard Manet
Music in the Tuileries Gardens, 1862
Oil on canvas, 30 x 47 in
National Gallery, London, NG3260

John Singer Sargent
Lord Ribblesdale, 1902
Oil on canvas, 103 x 57 in
The National Gallery, London, NG 3044

Henri Fantin Latour
Immortality, 1889
Oil on canvas, 46 x 35
National Museum Wales,
Cardiff, NMW A2462

Pierre August Renoir
The Jewish Wedding in Morocco, after Delacroix, 1875
Oil on canvas, 44 x 58 in
Worcester Art Museum, 1943.1

Paul Cézanne
Standing Nude, ca 1898
Oil on canvas, 36 x 28 in
Private Collection, NY
c/o Nancy Whyte

Eugène Delacroix
Bride of Abydos, 1857
Oil on canvas, 19 x 15 in
Kimbell Art Museum,
Fort Worth, AP 1986.04

Eugène Delacroix
Death of Sardanapalus, 1846
Oil on canvas, 29 x 32 in
Philadelphia Museum of Art,
The Henry P. McIlhenny Collection
In memory of Frances P. McIlhenny 1986-26-17

Eugène Delacroix
Convulsionists of Tangiers, 1838
Oil on canvas, 38 x 51 in
Minneapolis Institute of Art,
Bequest of J. Jerome Hill, 73.42.3

Eugène Fromentin
Egypt, a Recollection, 1872
Oil on canvas, 13 x 16 in.
Minneapolis Institute of Art,
Gift of Mrs. Egil Boeckmann, 58.32

Eugène Delacroix
Arabs Skirmishing in the Mountains, 1863
Oil on canvas, 36 x 29 in
National Gallery of Art, Washington DC,
Chester Dale Fund, 1966.12.1

Eugène Delacroix
View of Tangier from the Shore, 1858
Oil on canvas, 32 x 40 in
Minneapolis Institute of Art,
Gift of Mrs. Erasmus C. Lindley in memory of her father James J. Hill, 49.4

Pierre August Renoir
Madame Clémentine Valensi Stora (L’Algérienne), 1870
Oil on canvas, 33 x 23 in
Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco

Narcisse Diaz de la Pena
A Seraglio, Constantinople, ca 1865
Oil on panel, 15 x 21 in
Minneapolis Institute of Art,
Gift of Mrs. Egil Boeckmann, 58.30

Eugène Delacroix
Bathers, 1854
Oil on canvas, 36 x 31 in
Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford,
The Ella Gallup Summer and Mary
Catlin Summer Collection Fund, 1952.300

Eugène Delacroix
View of Tangier with Figures, 1853
Oil on canvas, 19 x 22 in
Minneapolis Institute of Art,
Gift of Georgiana Slade Reny, 93.67

Alexandre Decamps
Job and His Friends, ca 1853
Oil on canvas, 47 x 33 in
Minneapolis Institute of Art,
Gift of Mrs. Erasmus c. Lindley, 39.48

Eugène Delacroix
Christ on the Sea of Galilee, 1853
Oil on canvas, 20 x 24 in.
Metropolitan Museum of Art, 29.100.131

Paul Gauguin
Christ in the Garden of Olives, 1889
Oil on canvas
Norton Museum of Art, Gift of Elizabeth C. Norton, 46.5

Vincent van Gogh
Pieta, 1889
Oil on canvas, 29 x 24 in
Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam

Vincent van Gogh
Still Life with Meadow Flowers and Roses 1886-87
Oil on canvas, 41 x 31 in
Kroeller Muller Museum

Frederic Bazille
Young Woman with Peonies, 1870
Oil on canvas, 23 x 29 in
National Gallery of Art, Washington DC,
Collection of Mr. and Mrs Paul Mellon, 1983.1.6

Edgar Degas
The Dance Examination, 1879-80
Pastel on paper, 25 x 19 in
Denver Art Museum

Claude Monet
The Beach at Sainte-Adresse, 1864
Oil on canvas, 16 x 29 in
Minneapolis Institute of Art,
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Theodore Bennett 53.13

Paul Signac
Boulevard de Clichy, 1887
Oil on canvas,
Minneapolis Institute of Art,
Bequest of Putnam Dana McMillan, 61.36.16

Jean Metzinger
Field of Flowers in Bloom, near Caen, 1904
Oil on canvas, 17 x 23 in.
Minneapolis Institute of Art,
Gift of Anne Dalrymple Hull, 2012.83

Wassily Kandinsky
Study for Improvisation V, 1910
Oil on millboard, 27 x 27 in
Minneapolis Institute of Art,
Gift of Bruce B. Dayton, 67.34.2