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Final Thoughts from the Curator


As Impressionism, Fashion, and Modernity comes to a close, we decided to take a look back throughout the exhibition with the person who knows it best, exhibition curator Gloria Groom. Gloria graciously answered a few questions for us about how visitors have responded the exhibition and what's next on deck for her. . .

You've toured hundreds of people through the exhibition. What has been the most fun painting or garment to talk about with visitors?


Most visitors are blown away by the Hat Shop—the hat vitrine with the reflected image of the Art Institute's own Degas' Millinery Shop. It's as though they are seeing it for the first time.

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Also, the black dress paired with Manet's The Parisienne. The jet beading built into the fringe is just so amazing that it stops people in their tracks.

What has surprised you most about visitors' response to the exhibition?

People just can not believe these are the actual fashions worn at the time of the paintings. They're also amazed that they didn't know who James Tissot was before the exhibition.

Which painting (or garment) will you be most sad to say goodbye to?


For paintings, it's a tie between two Manets: Lady with Fans (Portrait of Nina de Callias) (far right in the image immediately above) and Young Lady in 1866 (top image).


For fashions, the aforementioned black dress but also the Worth Robe de Promenade, the last dress in the exhibition with the extraordinary starburst silk damask fabric. I'm in Venice as I write and that fabric is reminiscent of the luxury goods one still sees in textile boutiques.

What's next for you?

Van Gogh's Bedrooms coming in September 2015—stay tuned!

Thanks Gloria!

Image Credits:

Édouard Manet. Young Lady in 1866, 1866. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, gift of Erwin Davis.

Formal Dress, c. 1877. France. Gilles Labrosse Collection.

Day dress, c. 1886. Charles Frederick Worth. Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, gift of the Brooklyn Museum, 2009; gift of Mrs. William E.S. Griswold, 1941, 2009.300.664a,b.