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"Faces of Impressionism: Portraits from American Collections"
2000-03-25 until 2000-05-07
Museum of Fine Art, Houston
USA United States of America
Faces of Impressionism, the first major exhibition to focus on
portraits by masters of Impressionism, reveals how these works
transformed the genre of portraiture. Previously, the primary
purpose of portraiture had been to represent historical figures;
artists were commissioned to paint flattering likenesses of their
subjects. By contrast, many Impressionist portraits show ordinary
people in informal poses engaged in everyday activities, allowing a
glimpse into the social context of this influential circle of artists.
Depicting friends, family, patrons, public figures, and the artists
themselves, portraits by Impressionists range from tightly rendered
portrayals to light-filled, loosely brushed paintings.
Faces of Impressionism spans more than 50 years of art history
and includes 60 works of probing individual and group portraits,
figures in landscape settings, and self-portraits.
The complex associations between artist and subject are also
shown. For example, Auguste Renoir's depiction of Claude Monet
at work at his easel shows the mutual admiration and respect the
artists had for each other. Edgar Degas's probing likenesses of
family members expose inner psychological issues, as do Paul
Cezanne's images of his wife. Later works by Cezanne and Paul
Gauguin anticipate the developments of the 20th century and the
notion of the portrait as a mirror reflecting the essence of the
This exhibition is organized and circulated by The Baltimore Museum of Art.
Funding in Houston is generously provided by Shell Oil Company