Black models: from Géricault to Matisse


The Musée d'Orsay celebrates spring with a powerful subject : the "black model" in french art in the 19th and 20th centuries. From the form of the slave to the "nigger" beauty, the afro-black form has been an full artistical subject willingly approached by many great artists.

This exhibition intends to return to the evolution of this look, and sometimes of this exchange between the artist and his black model since the first abolition of slavery in 1794 to the middle of the 20th century.

Thereby, the exhibition is divided in three main parts. The one called "The Abolition Era" (1794-1848), the "New Painting", the "Harlem Revival" and the most recent one about the post war and contemporary artists. A highly welcome thematic retrospective that approaches the subject with delicacy. The idea is to compare the evolution of the history of ideas with that of art. The esthetique, the policy, but also the racial imagination of the artists are exposed through a dialogue between the model and the artist with many example as Géricault, Delacroix, Cordier, Carpeaux, Manet, Cézanne, Matisse, or even Nadar and Carjat. Sculptur, painting and photography are all mentioned.

It is the opportunity to discover the mysterious muses that inspired great names like Jeanne Duval Laure in _La Négresse_ by Manet.