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Passport to Paris will take visitors on a Parisian voyage through 300 years of art history
Claude Monet, The Beach at Trouville, 1870. Oil on canvas; 21-1/4 x 25-1/2 in. Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art; The Ella Gallup Sumner and Mary Catlin Sumner Collection Fund.

DENVER, CO.- The Denver Art Museum will host Passport to Paris, a suite of three exhibitions, October 27, 2013–February 9, 2014. The trio of shows will focus on French art from the late 1600s to early 1900s, and explore changes in art and society during three important centuries in art history. The museum will offer a full suite of complementary activities that highlights France and the French aesthetic. Additionally, a partnership with Colorado Symphony will allow both institutions to provide immersive and interactive experiences to their audiences.

“Through three related yet distinct exhibitions, our visitors will experience the richness and complexity of French art, from the grand and monumental art of the time of Louis XIV to the lively depictions of contemporary life of the impressionists,” said Christoph Heinrich, Frederick and Jan Mayer Director of the Denver Art Museum. “This is a rare opportunity to view the work of masters—Degas, Monet, Pissarro, Toulouse-Lautrec, Van Gogh among others—and not just their paintings, but also their sketches and drawings, which is often the foundation for later masterpieces.”

Included in the Passport to Paris trio are Court to Café: Three Centuries of French Masterworks from the Wadsworth Atheneum; Nature as Muse: French Impressionist Landscapes from the Frederic C. Hamilton Collection and the Denver Art Museum; and Drawing Room: An Intimate Look at French Drawings from the Esmond Bradley Martin Collection.

“This is a time when major shifts in politics and society were reflected in the arts,” said Angelica Daneo, associate curator of painting and sculpture at the DAM. “Paris became the artistic center of Europe and the leading capital for taste, culture and fashion.”

Court to Café: Three Centuries of French Masterworks from the Wadsworth Atheneum
Court to Café features 50 masterpiece paintings from the collection of the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford, Conn. In order to create an immersive experience, the DAM will display costume arts on loan from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and decorative arts and furniture from the museum’s collection to provide context for the paintings on display. This aspect is unique to Denver and illustrates the museum’s commitment to connecting visitors to the creative process of artists. The artworks visually unfold the richness of French painting during the period ranging from the 17th through the early 20th century, and include religious and mythological subjects, portraits, landscapes, still lifes and genre scenes. Following the social history of French art, the exhibition will take viewers through four themed sections in the galleries. Each area reveals the cultural and societal shifts of the period and how they were reflected in art. The exhibition will be on view in the Anschutz Gallery on level two of the Hamilton Building.

Nicolas Poussin, François Boucher, Edgar Degas, Camille Pissarro, Auguste Renoir, Paul Cézanne, Vincent van Gogh, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and Claude Monet are among the masters represented. This exhibition tour is the first time that all of these works have been shown as a group. It is accompanied by an exhibition book titled Masters of French Painting, 1290-1920: At The Wadsworth Atheneum, by Eric M. Zafran.

Nature as Muse: French Impressionist Landscapes from the Frederic C. Hamilton Collection and the Denver Art Museum
Nature as Muse displays the stunning work of 19th century impressionist artists. Focusing on landscape paintings, the exhibition will feature about 36 artworks from the private collection of Frederic C. Hamilton and the DAM’s own holdings. This is the first time that the masterworks from Hamilton’s private collection have been on view to the public. The exhibition will be on display in the Gallagher Family Gallery on level one of the Hamilton Building.

In the beginning of the 19th century, artists could take their easels and paints and work outside, free from the constraints of studio space and light. Utilizing loose brushstrokes and a soft color palette, the impressionists told the story of the French countryside through their canvases. Artists on view include Claude Monet, Berthe Morisot, Camille Pissarro, Auguste Renoir and Alfred Sisley. The DAM is producing an illustrated catalog for the exhibition.

Drawing Room: An Intimate Look at French Drawings from the Esmond Bradley Martin Collection
Inspired by the drawings cabinets of gentlemen and connoisseurs, this exhibition will offer a space where visitors can get close to artworks whose intimate nature invites contemplation and close up viewing. Curator Angelica Daneo notes the special immediacy of a work-on-paper where little separates the viewer from the direct hand of the artist. The exhibition will be on view in the Martin and McCormick Gallery on level two of the Hamilton Building.

Comprised of approximately 39 works-on-paper, the exhibition includes a range of techniques from rapid sketches in ink and pencil to finished pastels. Many artists represented in the exhibition Court to Café also appear in this show. The artworks represent exquisite examples of draughtsmanship by some of the most celebrated
French masters and allow an in-depth look into the creative process of artists. The
entire exhibition is drawn from the private collection of Dr. Esmond Bradley Martin.
Martin, a world authority on the illegal trade of wildlife products, is an avid art collector and drawings enthusiast. The exhibition will be accompanied by an illustrated catalog written by Kathleen Stuart, curator of the Berger Collection at the DAM.

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October 27, 2013

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