Our curators not only preserve and develop the museum's collections, organize exhibitions, write catalogues, and conduct scholarly research (among many other things), but they also present that research at venues around the world. In fact, earlier this week Gloria Groom, David and Mary Winton Green Curator of Nineteenth Century European Painting and Sculpture, spoke at The Frick Collection in New York about how the Impressionists interpreted and reimagined fashion in their paintings. The subject is apropos for a number of reasons: the Frick is currently featuring an exhibition of paintings by Renoir—including Art Institute favorite Acrobats at the Cirque Fernando, pictured above—and Gloria is in the midst of planning an exhibition titled Impressionism, Fashion, and Modernity, which you've readabouthere.
In her talk at the Frick (which you can see here), Gloria previews the exhibition and delves into the public reaction to the models (often mistresses) shown in Impressionist paintings; the "horse trading" that occurs to secure works for an exhibition; and the difficulty of finding examples of the fashion portrayed in paintings.
Image Credit: Pierre-Auguste Renoir. Acrobats at the Cirque Fernando (Francisca and Angelina Wartenberg), 1879. Potter Palmer Collection.
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