From 12 March to 1 August 2010, the Jacquemart-André Museum will host the exhibition:From El Greco to Dalí. The Great Spanish Masters from the Pérez Simón collection. Fifty two masterpieces and more than twenty-five great masters, brought together through the sure and discerning taste o a great collector, present a remarkable overview of creative art in Spain over the last four hundred years.
A tribute to Spanish art at the Jacquemart-André Museum
The Jacquemart-André Museum presents a group of paintings never before exhibited in France. The exhibition is arranged by theme so that each stage provides the opportunity for fresh comparisons between the great masters of different centuries, thus highlighting the traditions and breakthroughs that made the Spanish school successful.
The Golden Age of sacred painting
With the works of El Greco, Jusepe de Ribera and Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, the visitor is taken to the heart of the different facets of Catholic Reformation art. The artists, often influenced by mystical ideas, portrayed a world aspiring to celestial glory in striking chiaroscuro effects. Tenebrism then gave way to the luminous paintings of Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, one of the Spanish Baroque masters, who left behind a great many followers in Seville. This religious art was countered by a secular art dominated by the great court portraits and sensitivity of Goya.
An Hispanic art of portraiture and court life
Whilst being great collectors with an interest in Italian and Flemish art, the Spanish monarchs nonetheless commissioned Spanish artists to paint their portraits. From Sanchez Coello to Goya, the artists seamlessly blended the portrayal of power with that of reality.
From the assertion of a national identity…
The opposition to the Napoleonic occupation, the slow emergence of a modern state and Europe’s discovery of the riches of Spanish civilisation throughout the 19th century helped to establish the feeling of a strong national identity. In large scenes from everyday life, this movement set out on canvas all the beauty of traditional costumes and scenes of rejoicing towns, developing too, a taste for intimate subjects, beach games, playing in gardens and family life. Joaquin Sorolla is the undisputed master of scenes portraying simple pleasures. Vivid, strong, brilliant colours light his canvases.
The transition to what we call “modernity” is always seen in terms of continuity and innovation. The treatment of light has become the watchword of Sorolla’s heirs while colour has been influenced by French Impressionism.
The exhibition finishes with those great Spanish masters who revolutionised Western art. Pablo Picasso, Juan Gris, Joan Miró and Salvador Dalí established dialogues between Cubism and Surrealism. A rich selection of graphic and pictorial works by these artists offers a striking insight into this evolution up to and including Tapies.
Juan Antonio Pérez Simón, a dicerning collector
A successful Mexican businessman of Spanish origin, born in Asturias in 1941, Juan Antonio Pérez Simón is a well-known figure in the collecting world. Over a period of about ten years, his passion for art and taste for culture has led him to acquire a magnificent collection: paintings, sculptures, drawings, etchings, decorative objets d’art and manuscripts together with a library of more than fifteen thousand books.
This world famous collection is one of the most important in South America, both for its comprehensive character and the fame of the artists represented. Juan Antonio Pérez Simón talks about his artistic choices as an extension of his personality: “I have built up a personal world that reflects what defines me and excites me. Anyone who, like me, does not have that wonderful gift of creating beauty through art, can console themselves by admiring works of art and enjoying the process of falling in love with them.” A lover of all the European schools, the pictures presented at the Musée Jacquemart-André represent the Hispanic part of his collection, least familiar to the general public.
Nicolas Sainte Fare Garnot, an art historian specialising in 17th century French painting, has been the curator of the Jacquemart-André Museum since 1993. Since his appointment to the Jacquemart-André Museum, he has restored the layout of the collections to the original plan and initiated restoration and inventory programmes. With Culturespaces, he is helping to create a new dynamic in the Museum, providing his scientific assistance to temporary exhibitions whose subjects provide a deeper knowledge of the artists represented in the permanent collections.
Véronique Gerard-Powell, a senior lecturer in modern art history at the Université de Paris-Sorbonne, is a specialist in Spanish art. She has been involved in a number of exhibitions of Spanish art in France (Zurbaran at the Grand Palais in 1988; Goya at the Lille Musée des Beaux-arts in 1999). She compiled the annotated catalogue of Spanish paintings for the Grenoble Museum (RMN, 2000) and, in collaboration with Claudie Ressort, the catalogue of Spanish and Portuguese paintings for the Louvre Museum (2002). She is currently completing a book written in collaboration with Claudie Ressort on “The Old Masters of the Spanish School in France between 1800 and 1914”.
Exhibition catalogue an>
A catalogue of over 200 pages, published for this exhibition, will provide the opportunity for an in-depth study of each of the works presented. A large number of full page reproductions will enable readers to see the works and their most beautiful details again. t;/span>
The two curators of the exhibition, Mr. Nicolas Sainte Fare Garnot and Ms Véronique Gerard-Powell, provided scientific advice and supervision.
Guided tours: mp3, iPhone, audioguide…
For this exhibition an audioguide presenting about twenty major works will be provided free of charge for every visitor. This commentary will also be downloadable in mp3 format from the website and in the form of a downloadable iPhone application from the App Store website.