Faces of Impressionism: Portraits from the Musée d’Orsay

OCTOBER 19, 2014
through JANUARY 25, 2015

On view in the Renzo Piano Pavilion

Faces of Impressionism explores the character and development of the portrait in French painting and sculpture from the late 1850s until the first years of the 20th century.

The First Impressionist Portraits

Working within a genre, transforming it, or subverting it, the inventive portraits painted from the 1860s by Manet, Degas, and Renoir went beyond likeness, often seeking to convey another level of meaning by suggesting narrative.

Portraying Modern Life

In the 1870s, the Impressionists concentrated on the modern world, choosing to knock down “the partition separating the artist’s studio from everyday life.”

The Impressionist Portrait Comes of Age

Over the course of the 1870s and 1880s—and indeed into the early 1890s—the portraits painted by the Impressionists were as varied as were the artists and their sitters.

New Portrait Modes

As a result of the investigations of their forebears, a vast range of options opened to the artists exploring portraiture in the wake of Impressionism, especially Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Georges Seurat, Vincent van Gogh, and Paul Gauguin.