Renoir to Chagall: Paris and the Allure of Color
6/8/2013 - 9/1/2013

What's Pictured: Claude Monet (French, 1840-1926) Port of Dieppe, Evening, 1882, oil on canvas, Collection of the Dixon Gallery and Gardens, Gift of Montgomery H. W. Ritchie, 1996.2.7

Few places continue to enthrall us like Paris and the rich legacy of the artists who made the “City of Light” their home. Renoir to Chagall: Paris and the Allure of Color showcases 55 masterpieces from the renowned collection of the Dixon Gallery and Gardens in Memphis, Tennessee. The exhibition explores how Paris emerged as the center of the art world in the nineteenth century, attracting and inspiring the greatest painters of the era, including the well-known leaders of French Impressionism — Claude Monet, Pierre Auguste Renoir, Camille Pissarro and Alfred Sisley. Despite the admiration they hold today, the Impressionists were widely rejected by critics at the time. Painting en plein air — or outside the studio — to capture the varying effects of natural light, and mixing their paint directly on the canvas in bold strokes, they turned away from more traditional and regimented subjects to draw attention to sunlight, color, and atmosphere. Together, these artists came to define Parisian modernity, bringing to life the cafés, city streets, and brightly-lit seaside resorts of the French capital and its surroundings.

The ballet was another frequent subject. Edgar Degas, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, and Jean-Louis Forain captured the life of a dancer, which was at once elegant and demanding. Degas’ Dancer Adjusting Her Shoe (1885), her skirt billowing behind her in soft pastels, is a remarkable complement to Joslyn’s famous Degas sculpture Little Dancer, Fourteen Years Old (1881, cast ca. 1920–21). Paris also drew America’s most noted Impressionist painters, Mary Cassatt and John Singer Sargent, who offers a leisurely view from inside a gondola on the canals of Venice.

Major paintings by Paul Cézanne, Paul Gauguin, and Georges Braque are also represented, including Cézanne’s Trees and Rocks Near the Château Noir (ca. 1900–06). With a reduced palette and the rigorous, structured brushstrokes he used to define the rocky landscape, Cézanne charted the path to cubism and abstraction. The exhibition concludes with Dreamer by Marc Chagall, whose romantic and lyrical paintings are alive with his rich memories of a childhood in rural Russia, the traditions of his Jewish religion, and the influence of his fellow artists in the avant-garde of Paris.

The remarkable collection of French paintings at the Dixon Gallery and Gardens began as the vision of the museum’s founders, Hugo and Margaret Dixon, who were advised by one of the leading scholars of Impressionism, John Rewald. The combination of passionate collectors and a critic’s keen eye laid the foundation for a major collection that has only continued to grow since the museum’s opening four decades ago. Renoir to Chagall: Paris and the Allure of Color shares the finest of the Dixon Gallery’s collection, leading us from the forest of Fontainbleau, through the city, along the Seine, and to the post-Impressionist landscapes of Paul Gauguin and Henri Matisse on a lively and enlightening journey that shaped the direction of modern art for more than a century. 

Mobile Renoir to Chagall

Free Wi-Fi is now available in all Joslyn galleries. Bring your mobile device or borrow one of ours (featuring bonus Impressionist apps) to access the following:

Exhibition mobile tour presented by Joslyn and OnCell. 
Call (402) 881-3601 to access the tour (presented in English). Tour access information also available on site and on the Museum's mobile tour page.

Edventure: Renoir to Chagall! powered by Green Door Labs. 
An all-ages interactive scavenger hunt in the exhibition. Access coming in June. Check back!

Exhibition-Related Events & Programs

Friday, June 7 @ 6:30 pm
Joslyn Art Museum Association Annual Gala
 The Joslyn Art Museum Association (JAMA) hosts this gala in celebration of the exhibition. Honorary chairs are Shirley and Dan Neary. Co-chairmen are JAMA’s Susan Cutler and Anne Nelson. JAMA President is Nancy Whitted. Special guest for the evening will be Kevin Sharp, Director of the Dixon Gallery and Gardens, Memphis. Cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, and gallery viewing begin at 6:30 pm. Dinner will be served at 7:30 pm. Individual tickets are $175 (Patron tickets $350, Benefactor tickets $500). Reservations required by May 29. To have your name added to the mailing list or to RSVP, call (402) 661-3821.

Saturday, June 8; 6–8 pm
Members Opening 
Joslyn members are invited for this private, opening day celebration of the exhibition. At 6 pm, join Kevin Sharp, Director of the Dixon Gallery and Gardens, Memphis, for an overview of the exhibition. The presentation will be followed by gallery viewing. Complimentary light hors d’oeuvres will be served, and a cash bar will be available. Invitations will be mailed to Museum members with reservation/attendance information. Not a member? Join now!

Sunday, June 23; 1–4 pm; Free
Family Fun Day
A perfectly Parisian afternoon! Family Fun Day is supported in part by Wiesman Development and the Joslyn Art Museum Association.

Thursdays, July 11 & 18 @ 6:30 pm; Free
Late 'til 8 Gallery Talks with Creighton University's Jan Lund
Thursdays, July 11 (in English) and July 18 (in French)

Sunday, July 14; 5–8 pm
Bastille Day
Join us for a night of entertainment, wine and food pairings, art talks, and more! Organized in part by Alliance Française d'Omaha.
Paid advance registration required (click through to calendar listing): price TBA

Friday, August 2; 6–9 pm
A Night in Paris
Families, come late and experience the Joslyn version of the City of Light!
Space is limited; Paid advance registration encouraged (click through to calendar listing; payment also accepted at the door): $5 Members; $10 General Public

Tuesdays, August 20 (Renoir) & August 27 (Séraphine) @ 7 pm
Renoir to Séraphine: Film Screening & Discussion
Film Streams, in partnership with Joslyn Art Museum, presents two films coinciding with Joslyn's Renoir to Chagall exhibition. Post-show discussions will be led by Dr. Juliette Parnell, associate professor of French at University of Nebraska, Omaha.

Thursday, August 29 @ 6 pm
Paris Secrets: Art, Food, Culture, & What's Hot
With special guest Doni Belau, founder of This program is sponsored by Lamson, Dugan and Murray, LLP.
Paid advance registration required (click through to calendar listing): $25 Members; $35 General Public (price includes hors d'oeuvres and one free wine ticket)

Many regularly scheduled programs will be presented with French flair this summer. Check these listings:
  • Saturday Surprise! Free drop-in art-making program (10 am–noon) will feature Impressionism: June 8 & 22 (Activity hint: Dancers); July 6 & 20 (Activity hint: 3–d fields); August 3 & 17 (Activity hint: Flowers and fruit) 
  • Story Adventures Free drop-in gallery reading program (June 18 @ 10:30 am features Impressionism)
  • Stroller Tours (June 19 @ 9:15 am features the exhibition; this program for adults with small children requires advance registration and payment at the door: Free for Members and infants/toddlers; $5 General Public Adults; click the Stroller Tours link to register)
  • Scott EdTech Gallery (new updated Impressionism Art Pack for free checkout!)

In the late 19th- and early 20th-centuries, while the Renoir to Chagall artists were transforming the art world, French confectioners were focused on ice cream: serving it at the French court; developing new ways of making, storing, and freezing it; coining the term fromage glacé for true “iced cream”; and introducing flavors such as cinnamon, chocolate, bergamot, and orange flower petals. This summer, eCreamery Ice Cream & Gelato and Joslyn partner to bring you a taste of France inspired by the exhibition. Watch for details and . . . “let them eat ice cream!”