The Oklahoma City Museum of Art is the one and only venue for Paris 1900, on exhibit through March 2. Bringing together more than 100 paintings, prints, posters, ceramics, decorative objects, and sculptures, the exhibition reveals the height of the Paris art scene at the turn of the twentieth century.
The 1900 Paris Universal Exposition, which celebrated the opening of the new century, emphasized the arts and is associated with the maturation of the complex and sensual beauty of the convoluted style of art, architecture, and interior design known as art nouveau. The exhibition revels the very interesting variety and extraordinary quality of the wide range of art forms associated with fin de siècle Paris.
Paris 1900 explores important aspects of the art nouveau movement, while delving into other artistic and technological innovations that caused Paris to emerge as the center of artistic creativity as well as how advancements in the arts produced such a culturally rich period in history. It includes key artists and leading poster makers, such as Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Alphonse Mucha, and Jules Chéret, whose works drew attention to everything from performances at the Moulin Rouge to new commercial products.
The exhibition introduces this period with large photographs of interiors designed by artists under the guidance of art dealer Siegfried Bing. Bing’s Maison de l’Art Nouveau, which was presented in the 1900 Paris Universal Exposition, featured rooms designed by leading artists and designers of the period, such as Edward Colonna, Georges de Feure, and Eugene Gaillard.
Paris 1900 features fine examples of art pottery by French master potters such as Adrien Pierre Dalpayrat, Paul Jeanneney, Edmond Lachenal, and Ernest Chaplet. The exhibition includes works by Lachenal that reveal the number of different historical styles that were being used.
Several paintings by Charles Guilloux highlight the influences of early-nineteenth-century Japanese art. Guilloux’s L’Inondation, a dreamy landscape composed of rows of trees and water, brings to mind the simplified design, soft tones, and atmospheric effects of Andÿ Hiroshige’s prints.
Paris 1900 concludes with key works by some of the most important poster and magazine cover designers of the period. These artists depicted everything from theater, circus, and cabaret performances to advertisements for soap, cigarettes, and publications, approaching their subjects in a unique way that redefined commercial art.
The Oklahoma City Museum of Art is located at 415 Couch Drive. Hours are Tues-Sat, 10-5; Thurs10-9; Sun, Noon-5; closed on Mondays and major holidays. Gallery admission is $9 adults, $7 seniors and students, children five and under. For information, (405) 236-3100 or visit www.okcmoa.com.