20th Century Masters: the human figure
comprises a selection of approximately 50 works from the collections of France’s leading provincial cultural institutions. Curated by Sylvie Ramond, director of the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Lyon, the exhibition includes works by some of France’s most acclaimed modernists, as well as more contemporary French artists and a few other giants of the international art world who have connections with France.
Since the exhibition opened a month ago, more than 6 000 people have made their way through the Gallery. “It’s not only art specialists that are coming to see and appreciate these masterpieces, but many ordinary people, who want to take this once in a lifetime opportunity” said Standard Bank Gallery curator, Barbara Freemantle. “It is very encouraging to see so many people engaging with, and moved by, the works on display."
Free Public Walkabouts are conducted by art historian Marion Dixon, every Friday between 13:00 and 14:00, for the duration of the exhibition, and the Gallery has extended its weekend opening hours until 16:00 on Saturdays, due to public demand.
In addition, over a thousand learners will benefit from the education programme run by the Gallery during this time, whereby learners from schools in the area are specifically invited to engage with the original artworks in the company of skilled facilitators, and to try out a range of art and skills-development activities. As a result, the next generation is introduced to the visual arts, helping to develop audiences, and build an informed constituency for the next generation of artists.
The exhibition offers a fascinating survey of various ways in which mainly French artists have depicted the human body over the last 100 years through painting, printmaking, film and photography. Some of these artists, such as Fernand Leger, Georges Braque, Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Félix Vallotton, Victor Brauner and Wilfredo Lam, are renowned pioneers of early modernism. The exhibition also showcases works by 19th
century greats such as Gustav Courbet, Jean-Francois Millet and Edouard Manet, and artists associated with Impressionism including Berthe Morisot, Edgar Degas and August Renoir.
This exhibition is organised as part of the France – South Africa Seasons 2012 and 2013 and more information can be found on www.france-southafrica.com