Spectacle And Leisure In Paris: Degas To Mucha, Spring 2017 Exhibition At The Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum

In the upcoming spring of 2017, visitors to the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum at Washington University in St. Louis will be transported back to the Belle Époque with the special exhibition “Spectacle and Leisure in Paris: Degas to Mucha.”

Highlighted by over 50 works on paper and curated by Elizabeth C. Childs—the Etta and Mark Steinberg Professor of Art History and chair of the Department of Art History & Archaeology in Arts & Sciences—the exhibition emphasizes how the artists of that era aided in making France a political and cultural powerhouse in the late 1890s and early 1900s.

As shown in the works displayed here, Paris, and especially the Montmartre scene, was a thriving artistic epicenter filled with a bombastic creative energy that gave birth to prints by Édouard Vuillard and Edgar Degas and the popular commercial posters of Jules Chéret, Alphonse Mucha and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec.

Alphonse Mucha (Czech, 1860–1939), La dame aux camelias (The Lady of the Camelias), 1896. Lithograph, 81 3/8 x 29 5/8" (image). Collection of Mary Strauss.

Alphonse Mucha (Czech, 1860–1939), La dame aux camelias (The Lady of the Camelias), 1896. Lithograph, 81 3/8 x 29 5/8″ (image). Collection of Mary Strauss.

The City of Light’s vibrant artistic dynamism also launched unprecedented movements in dance, opera, film and other visual arts that meshed the liveliest locales with facets of everyday life including parties, horse races and performances.

The Kemper is buttressing their special exhibition with a diverse slate of programing including an exclusive screening of “French Film at the Turn of the Century: Spectacles de curiosité” on Feb. 24, featuring nine short films from the period with commentary from Colin Burnett, assistant professor in Film and Media Studies in Arts & Sciences.

Modern dance comes to the Kemper on March 2 for “Art Inspiring Dance: Discovering Loïe Fuller,” which celebrates the artist’s groundbreaking use of fabric, motion and light. Jody Sperling of Time Lapse Dance performs in Fuller’s flowing style.

Georges Meunier (French, 1869–1942), Folies-Bergère, Loïe Fuller, 1898. Lithograph, 48 x 33" (image). Collection of Mary Strauss. © 2017 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris.

Georges Meunier (French, 1869–1942), Folies-Bergère, Loïe Fuller, 1898. Lithograph, 48 x 33″ (image). Collection of Mary Strauss. © 2017 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris.

On March 22 The Kemper hosts a lecture entitled “Mediated by Images-Entertainment and Experience in Fin-de-siècle Montmartre” by Howard Lay, associate professor in the Department of the History of Art at the University of Michigan. Lay will discuss the posters of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and their surrounding context, as several posters are included in the “Spectacle and Leisure” show.

“Spectacle and Leisure in Paris: Degas to Mucha” runs at the Kemper Art Museum from Feb. 10 through May 21, 2017.

The museum is located on Washington University’s Danforth Campus, near the intersection of Skinker and Forsyth Boulevard. For more information, call (314) 935-4523 or visit the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum’s website; or on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Cover Photo: Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (French, 1864–1901), Divan Japonais, from the series Les Mâitres de l’Affiche (Masters of the Poster), 1893, published 1896. Lithograph, 15 3/4 x 11 1/2″. Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, Washington University in St. Louis. Gift of Melissa Henyan Redler, 1981.

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