press release

This is the first exhibition in twenty years to survey the rich holdings of French nineteenth-century drawings and watercolors in The Metropolitan Museum of Art's renowned Robert Lehman Collection. On view through February 9, 2003, "French Nineteenth-Century Drawings in the Robert Lehman Collection" features more than eighty works by most of the leading artists—Ingres, Delacroix, Rousseau, Degas, Renoir, and Seurat, to name just a few—of this pivotal epoch in the history of French art. Organized to coincide with the publication of Nineteenth and Twentieth Century European Drawings, volume IX in the complete series of Robert Lehman Collection scholarly catalogues, both the exhibition and the book reveal yet another facet of the taste of one of the great American collectors of the twentieth century.

The exhibition is made possible by Robert Lehman Foundation, Inc.

More about the Objects on View A truly discerning collector, Mr. Lehman, who died in 1969, amassed drawings from every significant period in French art throughout the century, beginning with the heroic Neoclassicism of Jacques-Louis David and the Romantic sketches of Eugène Delacroix for his grand literary and allegorical paintings. The exhibition also features richly textured landscapes by artists associated with the Barbizon school—Corot, Daubigny, Rousseau, Millet, and Harpignies, among others. Often working in the Forest of Fontainebleau near Paris, their appreciation of the natural landscape dramatically changed the course of landscape painting in France. The Impressionist masters are represented by landscapes and intimate studies, as well as major figure drawings by Degas, Renoir, Morisot, Bazille, Pissarro, and Sisley. Closing the century, the exhibition features the work of Seurat, Signac, and Cross, highlighting Mr. Lehman's extensive acquisitions in the area of Neo-Impressionism.

While covering virtually the full sweep of artistic innovation throughout the century, the exhibition also reflects the highly personal and idiosyncratic character of a private collection. Artists such as Ingres, Corot, Daumier, and Renoir are handsomely represented in multiple sheets showing a variety of drawing techniques and states of finish. Among the highlights are Courbet's pencil sketch of himself as a young artist and Angrand's striking charcoal self-portrait.

The collection includes a working drawing by Delacroix for his lithographic illustrations of Goethe's Goetz von Berlichingen. There is a splendid drawing by Degas of a dancer in motion, sketched on bright pink paper. Mr. Lehman also acquired a preparatory study for Seurat's masterpiece Les Poseuses. Vallatton captures the vibrant activity of Parisian streets, highlighting the simple, modern pleasures of daily life—themes that recur throughout the exhibition.

Exhibition Organizer "French Nineteenth-Century Drawings in the Robert Lehman Collection" was organized by Dita Amory, associate curator of The Robert Lehman Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

French Nineteenth-Century Drawings in the Robert Lehman Collection
Kurator: Dita Amory

Künstler: Frederic Bazille, Camille Corot, Gustave Courbet, Henri Edmond Cross, Charles-Francois Daubigny, Honoré Daumier, Jacques-Louis David, Edgar Degas, Eugène Delacroix, Henri Joseph Harpignies, Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres, Jean-François Millet, Berthe Morisot, Camille Pissarro, Auguste Renoir, Theodore Rousseau, Georges Seurat, Paul Signac, Alfred Sisley ...