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Henri Fantin-Latour (French, 1836–1904), Édouard Manet, 1867. Oil on canvas; 46 5/16 x 35 7/16 in. (117.5 x 90 cm). The Art Institute of Chicago, Stickney Fund

CHICAGO, IL.- The groundbreaking and critically acclaimed exhibition Impressionism, Fashion, and Modernity, which opened in Paris in October 2012, landed at the Art Institute this summer as the final stop on its world tour. Organized by the Art Institute of Chicago, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, and the Musée d’Orsay, Paris, the exhibition broke attendance records in Paris and has been lauded by international and national critics alike. Roberta Smith of the New York Times called the New York presentation a “thrilling, erudite show” with “visual fireworks, historical clarity, and pitch-perfect contextualizing.” Vogue proclaimed the show “breathtaking” for its portrayal of “art’s passionate love affair with fashion in the boulevards and salons of late 19th-century France.” And now audiences in Chicago are able to spend the summer with the first exhibition to explore the role of fashion in the revolutionary Impressionist movement. 

Featuring over 75 major figure paintings by the Impressionists and their contemporaries in tandem with the couture that inspired them, Impressionism, Fashion, and Modernity stunningly demonstrates how, in the hands of the Impressionist painters, the movement of a perfectly executed dress, the seasonal change in styles, and the increasing availability of fashionable clothing all became instruments in defining modernity. The works in the exhibition, many of them rarely or never before seen in Chicago, tell the story of late 19th-century Paris—then the world’s undisputed style capital—and how its new department stores, ready-made clothing, fashion magazines, and burgeoning middle class all inspired artists seeking a new visual language to accompany their times. The exhibition includes large-scale works by luminaries such as Gustave Caillebotte, Edgar Degas, Édouard Manet, Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Georges Seurat, Alfred Stevens, and James Tissot. For the presentation of the exhibition in Chicago, the Art Institute collaborated with international opera director Robert Carsen to conceive an immersive installation unlike any other presented at the museum. 

Impressionism, Fashion, and Modernity is precisely the type of exhibition that the Art Institute does best,” said Douglas Druick, President and Eloise W. Martin Director of the museum. “With pioneering scholarship, the exhibition brings fresh perspectives to landmark works of art of the period and infuses them, and their historical era, with a new vibrancy and immediacy. Impressionism, Fashion, and Modernity is also a testament to our close relationship with our colleagues in Paris and New York. It would not have been possible without their generosity and collegiality, particularly Guy Cogeval, the president and director of the Musée d’Orsay.” 

Working with paintings of this caliber is, of course, thrilling for a curator,” said Gloria Groom, David and Mary Winton Green Curator of Nineteenth-Century European Painting and Sculpture at the Art Institute of Chicago. “But equally exciting is to be able to add dimensions to the works of art by the presentation of period dresses and accessories, many of which, thanks to exhibition curator Susan Stein, were lent by multiple departments at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Establishing the conversation between the paintings and actual artifacts—dresses, gloves, corsets, parasols—and working with Robert Carsen on their presentation have both made this exhibition a singular experience for the Art Institute.” 

The exhibition takes visitors deep into Paris in the second half of the 19th century. The city was then the bustling center of a rapidly changing Europe and home to scores of artists seeking to capture the pulse and nuances of modern life. The Impressionist artists found fashion to be the perfect vehicle for defining and expressing modernity. The daring shapes and cuts of dresses and suits, rapidly changing styles, and the birth of department stores and fashion magazines all embodied a modern spirit that was lived and captured by artists drawn to the dynamic city. The first exhibition to draw this connection between fashion and painting during this period, Impressionism, Fashion, and Modernity charts the economic, commercial, social, and artistic changes that upended the existing order and replaced it with something more closely resembling life today. 

The paintings are brought to life with a judicious selection of period dresses, shoes, hats, fans, parasols, corsets, photographs, and fashion plates that vividly illustrate the booming consumer culture of the time. Dialogues between paintings and the garments depicted in them—such as Albert Bartholomé’s In the Conservatory (c. 1881) and the purple and white summer dress worn by Madame Bartholomé or Claude Monet’s Camille (1866) and an English promenade dress (1865/68)—not only underscore the intimate relationship between fashion and painting but also indicate how artists used, manipulated, and transformed fashion as a platform for their groundbreaking explorations. Visitors to the exhibition can experience galleries that examine burgeoning middle-class consumerism in the late 19th century, domestic portraits, fashion en plein air, under-fashion, photographs and fashion plates, men’s fashion, spaces of modern life, and evolving silhouettes as seen, for example, in the shift from the crinoline to the bustle. 

The paintings are brought to life with a judicious selection of period dresses, shoes, hats, fans, parasols, corsets, photographs, and fashion plates that vividly illustrate the booming consumer culture of the time. Dialogues between paintings and the garments depicted in them—such as Albert Bartholomé’s In the Conservatory (c. 1881) and the purple and white summer dress worn by Madame Bartholomé or Claude Monet’s Camille (1866) and an English promenade dress (1865/68)—not only underscore the intimate relationship between fashion and painting but also indicate how artists used, manipulated, and transformed fashion as a platform for their groundbreaking explorations. Visitors to the exhibition can experience galleries that examine burgeoning middle-class consumerism in the late 19th century, domestic portraits, fashion en plein air, under-fashion, photographs and fashion plates, men’s fashion, spaces of modern life, and evolving silhouettes as seen, for example, in the shift from the crinoline to the bustle. 

Impressionism, Fashion, and Modernity features iconic paintings by Impressionist artists as well as work by notable contemporaries James Tissot, Alfred Stevens, Carolus-Duran, and Jean Béraud. Many of the paintings, on loan from museums around the world, are rarely seen outside of Europe. Conversely, beloved works in the Art Institute’s of Chicago’s permanent collection, most notably Gustave Caillebotte’s Paris Street; Rainy Day (1877), will return home to Chicago, joining Georges Seurat’s monumental A Sunday on La Grande Jatte—1884 (1884–86), which was not displayed as part of the exhibition in Paris or New York. 

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Claude Monet (French, 1840–1926)n Camille, 1866. Oil on canvas; 90 15/16 x 59 1/2 in. (231 x 151 cm). Kunsthalle Bremen, Der Kunstverein in Bremen © Kunsthalle Bremen

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Claude Monet (French, 1840–1926), Madame Louis Joachim Gaudibert, 1868. Oil on canvas; 85 7/16 x 54 9/16 in. (217 x 138.5 cm). Musée d'Orsay, Paris, Acquired thanks to an anonymous Canadian gift, 1951 © RMN (Musée d’Orsay) / Hervé Lewandowski

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Day Dress. French, 1865–67. Gray silk faille. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Gift of Mrs. Alfred Poor, 1958 (C.I.58.4.4a-e) © The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Shawl. Indian, ca. 1865. Multicolored wool. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Gift of Miss F. L. Schepp, 1955 (C.I.55.16.3) © The Metropolitan Museum of Art

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Jean-Frédéric Bazille (French, 1841–1870), Family Reunion, 1867. Oil on canvas; 58 7/8 x 90 9/16 in. (152 x 230 cm). Musée d'Orsay, Paris, Acquired with the participation of Marc Bazille, brother of the artist, 1905 © RMN (Musée d’Orsay) 

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Ensemble d’été (boléro, jupe, ceinture), 1867. Toile de lin beige, soutaches et galon noirs. Paris, Galliera – musée de la Mode de la Ville de Paris © Stéphane Piera / Galliera / Roger-Viollet

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Claude Monet (French, 1840–1926), Luncheon on the Grass (left panel), 1865–66. Oil on canvas; 164 5/8 x 59 in. (418 x 150 cm). Musée d'Orsay, Paris, Gift of Georges Wildenstein, 1957 © RMN (Musée d’Orsay) 

Claude Monet (French, 1840–1926), Luncheon on the Grass (central panel), 1865–66. Oil on canvas; 97 7/8 x 85 7/8 in. (248.7 x 218 cm). Musée d'Orsay, Paris, Acquired as a payment in kind, 1987 © RMN (Musée d’Orsay) 

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Capote, vers 1860. Paille naturelle, rubans de taffetas de soie vert, dentelle mécanique et dentelle de Chantilly noires, papier vert. Paris, Galliera – musée de la Mode de la Ville de Paris © Stéphane Piera / Galliera / Roger-Viollet

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Claude Monet (French, 1840–1926), Women in the Garden, 1866. Oil on canvas; 100 3/8 x 80 11/16 in. (255 x 205 cm). Musée d'Orsay, Paris © RMN (Musée d’Orsay) 

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Day Dress. American, 1862–64. White cotton piqué with black soutache. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Gift of Chauncey Stillman, 1960 (C.I.60.6.11a, b) © The Metropolitan Museum of Art

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Édouard Manet (French, 1832–1883), Repose, ca. 1871. Oil on canvas; 59 1/8 x 44 7/8 in. (148 x 113 cm). Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, Bequest of Mrs. Edith Stuyvesant Vanderbilt Gerry © Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, Providence

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Berthe Morisot (French, 1841–1895), The Sisters, 1869. Oil on canvas; 20 1/2 x 32 in. (52.1 x 81.3 cm). National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., Gift of Mrs. Charles S. Carstairs © National Gallery of Art, Washington

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Auguste Renoir (French, 1841–1919), Lise (Woman with Umbrella), 1867. Oil on canvas; 72 7/16 x 45 1/2 in. (184 x 115.6 cm). Museum Folkwang, Essen © Museum Folkwang

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Poulain. Ombrelle marquise, vers 1860. Couverture en dentelle de Chantilly noire, doublure en taffetas ivoire dentelé à l’emportepièce, carcasse en fanon de baleine, mât, embout et poignée en ivoire sculpté, coulant en métal, cordelière et glands de soie noire et blanche. Griffe sur le coulant : "POULAIN / BOULEVARD DE LA MADELEINE, 3 / PARIS". Paris, Galliera – musée de la Mode de la Ville de Paris © Stéphane Piera / Galliera / Roger-Viollet

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Albert Bartholomé (French, 1848–1928), In the Conservatory (Madame Bartholomé), ca. 1881. Oil on canvas; 91 3/4 x 56 1/8 in. (233 x 142.5 cm).  Musée d'Orsay, Paris, Gift of the Société des Amis du Musée d'Orsay, 1990 © RMN (Musée d’Orsay) 

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Summer Day Dress Worn by Madame Bartholomé in the Painting In the Conservatory. French, 1880. White cotton printed with purple dots and stripes. Musée d'Orsay, Paris, Gift of the Galerie Charles and André Bailly, 1991 © RMN (Musée d’Orsay) / Hervé Lewandowski

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Édouard Manet (1832-1883), Jeune dame en 1866, dite aussi la femme au perroquet, 1866. Huile sur toile, 185,1 x 128,6 cm. New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, don d’Erwin Davis, 1889 © The Metropolitan Museum of Art

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James Tissot, Portrait of Miss Lloyd, 1876. Oil on canvas, 91.4 × 50.8 cm. Tate Britain © Tate Britain

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James Tissot (1836-1906), Bord de mer (Seaside), 1878. Huile sur tissu, 87.5 x 61 cm. Cleveland, Cleveland Museum of Art, legs de Noah L. Butkin © The Cleveland Museum of Art

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Édouard Manet (French, 1832–1883), Lady with Fans (Portrait of Nina de Callias), 1873. Oil on canvas; 44 1/2 x 65 9/16 in. (113 x 166.5 cm). Musée d'Orsay, Paris, Bequest of M. and Mme Ernest Rouart © RMN (Musée d’Orsay) 

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Édouard Manet (French, 1832–1883), The Parisienne, ca. 1875. Oil on canvas; 75 5/8 x 49 1/4 in. (192 x 125 cm). Nationalmuseum, Stockholm, Bequest 1917 of Bank Director S. Hult, Managing Director Kristoffer Hult, Director Ernest Thiel, Director Arthur Thiel, and Director Casper Tamm © Nationalmuseum, Stockholm

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Anonyme. Une robe noire portant la griffe de Mme Roger, 1878. Collection particulière © Photo Gilles Labrosse

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James Tissot (1836-1906), Octobre, 1877. Huile sur toile, 216 x 108,7 cm. Montréal, Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal, Don de Lord Strathcona et de la famillePhoto © Agnew’s, London, UK / The Bridgeman Art Library

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Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841-1919), Madame Georges Charpentier (née Marguérite-Louise Lemonnier, 1848–1904) et ses enfants, Georgette-Berthe (1872–1945) and Paul-Émile-Charles (1875–1895), 1878. Huile sur toile, 153.7 x 190.2 cm. New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Catharine Lorillard Wolfe Collection, Wolfe Fund, 1907 © The Metropolitan Museum of Art

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Mary Cassatt (American, 1844–1926), In the Loge, 1878. Oil on canvas; 32 x 26 in. (81.3 x 66 cm). Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, The Hayden Collection, Charles Henry Hayden Fund. © Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

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Jean Béraud (1848-1917), Une soirée, 1878. Huile sur toile, 65 x 117 cm. Paris, musée d’Orsay © Musée d’Orsay, dist. RMN / Patrice Schmidt

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James Tissot (dit), Jacques Joseph (1836 – 1905), Le Cercle de la Rue Royale, 1868. Huile sur toile, 2160 x 3300 cm. Paris, musée d’Orsay © Musée d’Orsay, dist. RMN / Patrice Schmidt

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Frédéric Bazille. Pierre-Auguste Renoir, 1867. Musée d’Orsay, Paris, on deposit to the Musée Fabre, Montpellier © RMN (Musée d’Orsay) 

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Gustave Caillebotte (French, 1848–1894), At the Café, 1880. Oil on canvas; 60 1/4 x 44 15/16 in. (153 x 114 cm). Musée d'Orsay, Paris, On deposit at the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Rouen © RMN (Musée d’Orsay)

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Edgar Degas (French, 1834–1917), Portraits at the Stock Exchange, 1878–79. Oil on canvas; 39 3/8 x 32 1/4 in. (100 x 82 cm). Musée d'Orsay, Paris, Bequest subject to usufruct of Ernest May, 1923 © RMN (Musée d’Orsay)

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Gustave Caillebotte (French, 1848–1894), Paris Street; Rainy Day, 1877. Oil on canvas; 83 1/2 x 108 3/4 in. (212.2 x 276.2 cm). The Art Institute of Chicago, Charles H. and Mary F. S. Worcester Collection © The Art Institute of Chicago

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Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841-1919), Le Couple, 1868. Huile sur toile, 105 x 75 cm. Cologne, Wallraf-Richartz Museum & Fondation Corboud © Photo Josse/Leemage

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Édouard Manet (1832-1883), Nana, 1877. Huile sur toile, 150 x 116 cm. Hambourg, Hamburger Kunsthalle © BPK, Berlin

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Edgar Degas (French, 1834–1917). The Millinery Shop, ca. 1882–86. Oil on canvas; 39 3/8 x 43 5/8 in. (100 x 110.7 cm). The Art Institute of Chicago, Mr. and Mrs. Lewis Larned Coburn Memorial Collection © The Art Institute of Chicago

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James Tissot (French, 1836–1902),The Shop Girl, from the series Women of Paris, 1883–85. Oil on canvas; 57 1/2 x 40 in. (146.1 x 101.6 cm). Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, Gift from Corporations' Subscription Fund, 1968. © Art Gallery of Ontario

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Auguste Renoir (French, 1841–1919), The Loge, 1874. Oil on canvas; 31 1/2 x 25 in. (80 x 63.5 cm). The Samuel Courtauld Trust, The Courtauld Gallery, London. © The Courtauld Gallery