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Black Representation at the Musée d’Orsay – ‘The Black Model from Gericault to Matisse’

Titled "Le modèle noir de Géricault à Matisse" (The black model from Gericault to Matisse), at the Musée d’Orsay March 26th – July 21st 2019, the art exhibition questioned how black women were represented in the art world.

Exhibiting over 100 works, the exhibition presents political, social, racial as well as aesthetic issues, that are revealed in the representation of blacks in visual arts, primarily focused on three key periods: The Era of the Abolition of slavery in France (1794-1848), the Harlem Renaissance Period – ‘an artistic exploration which lead to art making inspired by the African Heritage in the 1920s, centered in Harlem, New York’ and the beginning of the Avant-Garde in the 20th century – ‘the movement in the arts, characterised by non-traditional, aesthetic innovation and unacceptability that criticizes an artist’s work’.

Basically, the theme of the exhibition is to show the foundation in which the dialogue between an artist, the artist’s work and the model was formed.

The Black Model from Gericault to Matisse’ explores the ways in which black subjects were represented in visual artistic works by the likes of Charles Cordier, Henri Matisse, Edouard Manet, Théodore Géricault, Baptiste Carpeaux, Paul Cézanne and photographers Nadar and Carjat.

Curators of the exhibition:

  • Cécile Debray - Director of the Musée de l'Orangerie

  • Stéphane Guégan - Scientific advisor to the president of the Musées d’Orsay et de l’Orangerie

  • Isolde Pludermacher- Chief curator at the Musée d'Orsay

  • Denise Murrell - Ford Foundation Postdoctoral Research Scholar at the Wallach Art Gallery

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