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Manet's Bar at the Folies-Bergère and Defining Modernity: European Drawings 1800-1900 At the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Getty Center, June 5-September 9, 2007

December 12, 2006

LOS ANGELES—Edouard Manet’s A Bar at the Folies-Bergère, one of the great masterpieces of 19th-century French art, is coming to the J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center this summer.  To celebrate this loan from the Samuel Courtauld Trust, Courtauld Institute of Art Gallery in London, the Getty Museum has organized the special installation Manet’s Bar at the Folies-Bergère- to showcase the painting and its visual complexities.  The painting will be on view concurrently with the Drawings Department’s exhibition of 19th-century French works of art on paper Defining Modernity: European Drawings 1800-1900, an exhibition also featuring works by Manet and several loans from the Courtauld.

A Bar at the Folies-Bergère is one of the most intriguing works of Manet’s career and of 19th-century European art in general,” observes Michael Brand, director of the J. Paul Getty Museum.  “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to share this masterpiece with Getty audiences, and we are incredibly grateful to our colleagues at the Courtauld Institute of Art and the Samuel Courtauld Trust for making this possible.” 

A Bar at the Folies-Bergère has not been seen in the United States since 1988, and has never been exhibited on the West Coast.  The painting is an excellent complement to the Getty’s rich holdings in Impressionist art, which include another significant work by Manet, The Rue Mosnier with Flags.  As an emblematic image of a working woman in modern Paris, A Bar at the Folies-Bergère provides a fascinating comparison to Edgar Degas’ The Milliners, recently acquired by the Getty Museum. 

The installation of a mirror opposite the painting, the dominant motif of which is itself a mirror, will set up a play of reflections encouraging visitors to reflect on the optical conundrums Manet’s painting poses. 

Manet’s Bar at the Folies-Bergère will be accompanied by a detailed illustrated brochure providing the viewer with essential historical, social, and critical context, summarizing some of the extensive debates surrounding the painting in recent years, and providing viewers with some interesting perspectives on the painting’s visual oddities and ambiguities.

Manet’s Bar at the Folies-Bergère is curated by Scott Allan, assistant curator in the department of paintings, with Scott Schaefer, curator of paintings, the J. Paul Getty Museum.

The accompanying exhibition Defining Modernity: European Drawings 1800-1900, surveys the J. Paul Getty Museum’s 19th-century drawings collection, and features a number of recent acquisitions, as well as loans from the Courtauld Institute of Art’s drawings collection.  The development of new artistic materials, the expansion of artistic themes to include subjects from modern life, and the increased demand for images created by new print media all invigorated the practice of drawing during the 1800s. 

Defining Modernity will feature 46 drawings, including works by Manet, Degas, Vincent van Gogh, and Georges Seurat, who exploited the new subjects and materials of drawing and used traditional subjects and media in innovative ways.

This exhibition inaugurates the new galleries for drawings on the Plaza Level of the West Pavilion at the J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, and is curated by Christine Giviskos, assistant curator of drawings, the J. Paul Getty Museum.

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Note to editors: Images available on request.

Desiree Alcalde-Wayne
Getty Communications

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The J. Paul Getty Museum collects in seven distinct areas, including Greek and Roman antiquities, European paintings, drawings, manuscripts, sculpture, and decorative arts, and European and American photographs. The Museum's mission is to make the collection meaningful and attractive to a broad audience by presenting and interpreting the works of art through educational programs, special exhibitions, publications, conservation, and research.