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Johan Barthold Jongkind (Dutch, 1819-1891) View of the Côte Sainte-Catherine in Rouen, 185, oil on canvas, 17 x 23 5/8 inches. Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond. Adolph D. and Wilkins C. Williams Fund.Photo: Katherine Wetzel. © Virginia Museum of Fine Arts
Exhibition
Feb 23, 2014
throughApr 27, 2014

Nineteenth-Century French and Russian Art: Works from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts

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The University of Richmond Museums opens Nineteenth-Century French and Russian Art: Works from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts on February 23 through April 27, 2014, in the Joel and Lila Harnett Museum of Art. Presented in conjunction with a course at the University of Richmond in the Sophomore Scholars in Residence Program, the exhibition showcases Russian and French artwork from the collection of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. The class, titled “What’s Art For?,” examines nineteenth-century art from Russia and France and how that art reflects the social, political, and cultural trends of the period in both countries. In collaboration with their professors, students arranged the paintings and drawings in accordance with what they had learned in the course about the nineteenth century and about the dialogue between the history and aesthetics of Russia and France.
About the Exhibition

Featured in the exhibition are seventeen works by nine French artists and six Russian artists. While many of the French works are by well-known artists, the Russian paintings represent an opportunity to see art from the collection of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts that has rarely been exhibited. Highlights of French artworks include a graphite drawing by Paul Cézanne (1839-1906), Study of a Slave After Michelangelo, 1881-1884; an 1893 watercolor and ink on paper by Berthe Morisot (1841-1895) titled Marthe Décolletée, and Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s (1841-1919) Young Girls Looking at an Album, an oil on canvas, circa 1892. The Russian selections include A Peasant Girl, nineteenth-century, oil on canvas by Ilya Repin (1844-1930); a nineteenth-century oil on panel by Sergei Soudeikine (1882-1946), titled Scene from Petruchka, and Woman Seated on Steps, an oil on canvas by Sergei Vinogradov (1868-1938) from the early twentieth century. 

Joe Troncale, co-professor of the course, states regarding the exhibition: “The art of France and Russia in the nineteenth century reveals an array of artistic perspectives on issues that faced the artists themselves and their nations in the process of their countries’ historical, social, and cultural development. Paintings and drawings examined within their historical and cultural contexts reveal the complex spirit of their time.  They are metaphors arising from the artist’s need to come to terms with and to articulate what is happening in his or her world. The paintings and drawings in this exhibition can serve as windows on the historical process itself, narrating it in images as it unfolds and plays out in each country through the interaction of artists and with the variety of influences under which they lived.  Those circumstances in which the French and Russian cultures developed in the nineteenth century had as much of a profound influence on the aesthetic choices of the artists of that day as they did on how France and Russia eventually answered in their own ways the question ‘What is Art For?’”

Organized by the University of Richmond Museums, the exhibition was curated by Joe Troncale, Associate Professor of Russian Literature and Visual Studies, and Sara Pappas, Associate Professor of French and Visual Studies, Department of Modern Literatures and Cultures, University of Richmond, with students enrolled in the Sophomore Scholars in Residence course “What’s Art For?”: Ama Ansah, Kristin Beaverson, Francesca Burkhardt, Diane Gremillion, John Kim, Mark Kim, Kit Knapp, Tina Liu, Claire McDonald, Danielle Moreau, Clara Ng, Rebecca Robinson, Sequioa Roscoe, Lea Ruwaldt, Austin Shepherd, and Andrew Weisbrodt. The exhibition and programs are made possible in part by the University’s Sophomore Scholars in Residence Program, the Community-Based Learning Program, and with support from the Louis S. Booth Arts Fund.

Past Programming

Sunday, February 23, 2 to 4 p.m.
2 p.m., Lecture, Camp Concert Hall, Modlin Center for the Arts
French and Russian Painting: Is It Really East versus West?
Joe Troncale, Associate Professor of Russian Literature and Visual Studies, and Sara Pappas, Associate Professor of French and Visual Studies, with Rebecca Robinson, ’16, and Austin Shepherd, ’16, students enrolled in What’s Art For?, a Sophomore Scholars in Residence course
3 to 4 p.m., Opening reception and preview of the exhibition
Harnett Museum of Art, Modlin Center for the Arts

Monday, February 24, Noon to 12:30 p.m.
Exhibition Walk-Through and Talk, Harnett Museum of Art, Modlin Center for the Arts
The New French Painting and Its Fellows
Mitchell Merling, Paul Mellow Curator and Head of the Department of European Art, VMFA

Sunday, April 13, 2 to 3 p.m.
Museum Story Time for Children, Harnett Museum of Art, Modlin Center for the Arts
Reading from Laurence Anholt’s book The Magical Garden and Claude Monet

 
Nineteenth-Century French and Russian Art: Works from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts