Museum  March 6, 2019  Megan D Robinson

"Paris 1900" Brings the Belle Epoque to Life

© Musée Carnavalet/Roger-Viollet

Henri Gervex (1852–1929), An Evening at the Pré-Catelan, 1909, oil on canvas, Musée Carnavalet, Paris

© Musée Carnavalet/Roger-Viollet

Edouard Zawiski (active 19thcentury), The Place Blanche and the Moulin Rouge, 1902, oil on canvas, Musée Carnavalet, Paris

Through May 12 at the Cincinnati Art Museum (CAM), Paris 1900: City of Entertainment introduces visitors to Paris during the Belle Époque (“Beautiful Era”) of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Few cities have the allure of Paris. Known as the City of Light, it has attracted tourists, artists and free thinkers for hundreds of years. A rapidly growing metropolis at the turn of the 20th century, Paris was a vibrant epicenter of cultural change, hosting 51 million visitors for the historic International Exposition of 1900. Paris 1900: City of Entertainment immerses visitors in the joie de vivre, elegance, optimism, and artistic and technological innovations of Paris at this transformative time.

Featuring over 200 works of art, with paintings and prints by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Camille Pissarro and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, as well as sculptures by Auguste Rodin, Antoine Bourdelle and Camille Claudel, the exhibition also introduces visitors to talented, lesser-known artists and designers. It explores Sarah Bernhardt’s dual legacy as artist and actress, and showcases rare Art Nouveau furniture and acclaimed examples of art pottery and glass work. Arranged to encourage the visitor's cultural immersion, the exhibition adds atmosphere with references to fashion, Parisian cafe culture and cabaret.

Alfons Mucha (1860–1939), Study Medallion for the Façade of the Fouquet Jewelry Shop, circa 1900
© Musée Carnavalet/Roger-Violle

Alfons Mucha (1860–1939), Study Medallion for the Façade of the Fouquet Jewelry Shop, circa 1900, pencil, washand watercolor, Musée Carnavalet, Paris

Daum (est. 1875), Beetle Vase, circa 1911
© Eric Emo/Petit Palais/Roger-Viollet

Daum (est. 1875), Beetle Vase, circa 1911, lead glass, Petit Palais, Paris

Jean-Alcide-Henri Boichard (b. 1817), Winter Circus, circa 1900
© Musée Carnavalet/Roger-Viollet

Jean-Alcide-Henri Boichard (b. 1817), Winter Circus, circa 1900, color lithograph, Musée Carnavalet, Paris

Eugène-Samuel Grasset (1841–1917), designer and Vever Frères, jeweler, “Assyrian” Comb, 1900
© Patrick Pierrain/Petit Palais/Roger-Viollet

Eugène-Samuel Grasset (1841–1917), designer and Vever Frères, jeweler, “Assyrian” Comb, 1900, horn, repoussé gold, cloisonné enamel, and cabochon sapphires, Petit Palais, Paris

Sèvres Porcelain Manufactory (est. 1756), Vase decorated with Poppies, 1903
© Patrick Pierrain/Petit Palais/Roger-Viollet

Sèvres Porcelain Manufactory (est. 1756), Vase decorated with Poppies, 1903, ceramic and porcelain, Petit Palais, Paris

CAM is the second of three U.S. venues to present this exhibition, originally presented at the Petit Palais in 2014. Paris 1900: City of Entertainment began its U.S. run at Frist Art Museum in Nashville, Tennessee. After CAM, the exhibition moves to the Portland Art Museum in Oregon in June.

© Stéphane Piera/Petit Palais/Roger-Viollet

Victor Prouvé (1858–1943), Joyful and Peaceful Rest: Meditation, 1899, oil on canvas, Petit Palais, Paris

Paris 1900: City of Entertainment runs until May 12, 2019 at the Cincinnati Art Museum.

About the Author

Megan D Robinson

Megan D Robinson writes for Art & Object and the Iowa Source.

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