"Storied Past: Four Centuries of French Drawings from the Blanton Museum of Art" and "French Art from NYU's Collection," Grey Art Gallery, New York University, 100 Washington Square East, April 17 through July 14, 2012.
Moroccan Girl Playing a Stringed Instrument, 1875
Watercolor, gouache, and graphite on ivory wove paper
9 5/8 x 13 9/16 in.
Gift of the Wunsch Foundation, Inc., 1983
Celebrate Bastille Day 2012 (known in France as Le Quatorze Juillet - July 14th) with a splendid array of French drawings executed from the 16th through 20th centuries. Comprised of 50 drawings from the Blanton Museum of Art, University of Texas as Austin and about two dozen more from New York University's permanent collection, these two separate shows feature narratives of heroes, femme fatales, and contemporary street life from the years before and after the French Revolution.
"Storied Past" reflects the taste of Italian Renaissance scholar William Suida, an art historian from Vienna, who became the head of the Kress Foundation art history research department in 1947 and advised Samuel Kress' purchases for the collection. His daughter Bertina Suida was also an art historian and she married NYU Institute of Fine Arts classmate Robert Manning, who took over his father-in-law's position at the Kress. Together they built the Suida-Manning Collection which was donated to the Blanton Museum of Art at the University of Texas, Austin in 1998.
The Suida-Manning Collection includes Italianate Baroque French drawings from the 17th century, such as this example from the circle of Daniel Halle
Circle of Daniel Halle
A Warrior amid Classical Ruins, c. 1650–99
Black chalk and brown wash heightened with white on brown laid paper
15 1/2 x 11 in.
The Suida-Manning Collection
and the French Rococo, found in this drawing by Charles-Antoine Coypel:.
France Thanking Heaven for the Recovery of Louis XV, 1744
Black and white chalks with brush and gray wash and touches of red chalk on cream antique laid
11 15/16 x 7 7/8 in.
The Suida-Manning Collection
Above, please note the characteristic exoticism of Orientalist Alexandre-Louis Leloir's Moroccan Girl Playing a Stringed Instrument, 1875 (produced at the time Impressionism fought against these preferred conventions).
On the lower level of the Grey Art Gallery, avant-gardists hold sway. "French Art from NYU's Collection" highlights works donated to the university since 1958. Here we find important (and impressive) 19th- and 20th-century masters Edouard Manet, Georges Braque. Francis Picabia, Jacques Villon, and Sonia Delauney, among so many others. Surely it's time for a comprehensive exhibition of this outstanding New York collection.
Edouard Manet, Unfinished Landscape, c. mid 1860s
NYU Collection, Grey Art Gallery
Please join the New York Arts Exchange tour of "Storied Past" and "French Art from NYU's Collection" on Wednesday, July 11 at 1 pm. Reservations: email@example.com. Fee: $60. We will meet at the Grey Art Gallery.
Vive la France!
Beth S. Gersh-Nesic, Director