The Met's New Exhibition Shows Fashion's Impact On Impressionist Art

Category: Media & Culture / Feb 26, 2013 4:26PM EDT
A new exhibition opened at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on Tuesday (February 26) that seeks to explore the role fashion played in the works of Impressionist masters and their contemporaries. Called 'Impressionism, Fashion and Modernity', the show brings together a trove of paintings from greats like Edouard Manet, Claude Monet and others and displays them alongside fashion popular at the time. "We're looking at a period from the mid 1860's to the mid 1880's when Impressionism came of age and Paris emerged as the style capital of the world," said Susan Alyson Stein, curator of European Art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. "With the rise of department stores, the advent of ready-made clothing, the proliferation of fashion magazines, artists took a fresh look at contemporary dress as a way to invigorate stale conventions with modern sentiment." While some society artists produced extremely accurate paintings of their clients wearing their very fashionable attire, the major Impressionist artist looked to capture something more fleeting, the "look of the moment.” "It's not so much that meticulous precision or detail in every thread and hemline and so on, as much as it is to capture that here and now. The things that are here today and gone the next," added Stein. A good example of this feeling for the moment can be seen in work such as Monet's 'Women in the Garden', which shows a group of well dressed women having a picnic on a sunny lawn. In the painting one lady wears a white dress with decoration on the hem, very similar to a real dress on display just yards away. The exhibit brings together more than 80 major works from over 40 locations around the world. Stein says the Met has added to the show with items from own collection including art, costumes and supporting documents like photographs and fashion magazine clippings from the era. The show runs through May 27th and will then move on to the Art Institute of Chicago. Video Source: Reuters