The Age of Watteau, Chardin, and Fragonard: Masterpieces of French Genre Painting

The Age of Watteau, Chardin, and Fragonard: Masterpieces of French Genre Painting

by Philip Conisbee, Thomas W. Gaehtgens, Colin B. Bailey
     
 

This inviting book offers the first comprehensive survey of French genre painting of the eighteenth century, from Watteau's fêtes galantes to Boilly's paintings of modern Parisian life. Showcasing 113 works, the book illustrates the variety and the vitality of genre painting throughout the period. Leading English, German, French, and American scholars shed light…  See more details below

Overview

This inviting book offers the first comprehensive survey of French genre painting of the eighteenth century, from Watteau's fêtes galantes to Boilly's paintings of modern Parisian life. Showcasing 113 works, the book illustrates the variety and the vitality of genre painting throughout the period. Leading English, German, French, and American scholars shed light on the development of genre painting, its interpretation, its collectors, and its enormous appeal. Here are gathered together masterpieces by such eminent artists as Watteau, Lancret, de Troy, Chardin, Boucher, Greuze, Fragonard, Robert, and Boilly. The wide range of their featured works encompasses military scenes, theatrical subjects, hunt pictures, pastorals, domestic life, moral pictures, fishwife subjects, paintings for the boudoir, and panoramas of the Enlightenment in landscapes and townscapes. Each work is thoroughly catalogued, and an appendix lists all genre paintings shown in the eighteenth-century Salons.

Author Biography: Colin B. Bailey is chief curator at The Frick Collection, New York and the author of Renoir Portraits: Impressions of An Age and Patriotic Taste: Collecting Modern Art in Pre-Revolutionary Paris.

This catalogue accompanies an exhibition that will appear at the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa from June 6 to September 7, 2003. It then travels to the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., from October 12, 2003, to January 11, 2004, and to the Gemäldegalerie in Berlin from February 8 to May 9, 2004. Published in association with the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, and the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publishers Weekly
In the period before the French Revolution, the grands sujets of history and myth dwarfed the emerging genre of paintings of everyday life, including "animals and fruits," garden parties, morning toilettes, kitchen duties and family scenes. Yet for reasons evidenced in the 230 color and 60 b&w illustrations of this lavish catalogue, that latter genre enjoyed a huge popularity among collectors and art connoisseurs, including Diderot, and foreshadowed the modern developments in art to come less than a century later. Essays establishing the historical context of genre painting will surely be of interest to scholars of the period, but verge on numbing for lay readers. The label copy in the latter half of the book is much more engaging, offering detailed insight into each painting in this travelling exhibition (which will be at Washington D.C.'s National Gallery of Art this fall). In particular, the writing on Chardin, with quotes from his contemporaries generously interspersed, reveals just how original this painter was-and how controversial. But the book's reproductions-in deep, sharp, full-page majesty-generate more than enough interest in themselves. (Sept.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal - Library Journal
In this first complete survey of 18th-century French genre painting, Bailey (chief curator, Frick Collection, New York; Patriotic Taste) and a team of scholars highlight the master artists of the period, including Antoine Watteau, Jean-Baptiste-Simeon Chardin, Nicolas Lancret, Jean-Honor Fragonard, and Jean-Baptiste Greuze, in 113 beautiful reproductions. French genre painting, which features pastorals, domestic life, boudoir paintings, and military scenes, flourished within the hierarchical system of the French academy. Though not as highly regarded as history painting, it was certainly prized and collected by numerous aristocrats and nobles of the era, including Frederick II of Prussia and the Duc de Choiseul. The book also shows how the boundaries among genre painting and history painting and portraiture were being crossed at this time, as sentimental and private feelings were appearing in these more lofty subjects. Published to accompany a fall/winter exhibition at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC (first shown at the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, and later traveling to the Gem ldegalerie, Berlin), this thorough and scholarly book is recommended for academic art history collections.-Sandra Rothenberg, Framingham State Coll. Lib., MA Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780300099461
Publisher:
Yale University Press
Publication date:
08/11/2003
Pages:
420
Product dimensions:
9.98(w) x 12.58(h) x 1.26(d)

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