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    Noir: The Romance of Black in 19th-Century French Drawings and Prints

    February 9–May 15, 2016

    Getty Center

    Madame Seurat, The Artist’s Mother

    Madame Seurat, The Artist’s Mother, about 1882-83, Georges Seurat, conte crayon on laid paper. The J. Paul Getty Museum

  • Mephistopheles Aloft

    Mephistopheles Aloft, 1827, published 1828, Eugène Delacroix, lithograph on wove paper. Courtesy of and © Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Arts

  • The Vampire

    The Vampire, 1855, Charles Meryon, etching on laid paper. Courtesy of Richard A. Simms

  • The Eye, Like a Strange Balloon, Mounts toward Infinity

    The Eye, Like a Strange Balloon, Mounts toward Infinity, 1882, Odilon Redon, lithograph on chine collé. Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Wallis Foundation Fund in memory of Hal B. Wallis. Image: www.lacma.org

  • Rue Transnonain, le 15 avril 1834

    Rue Transnonain, le 15 avril 1834, 1834, Honoré Daumier, lithograph on wove paper. The Armand Hammer Daumier and Contemporaries Collection, gift of Dr. Armand Hammer. Hammer Museum, Los Angeles

  • Apparition

    Apparition, about 1880-90, Odilon Redon, charcoal and powdered charcoal with stumping and yellow pastel on brown wove paper. The J. Paul Getty Museum

  • Vast Pasture with a Distant Town

    Vast Pasture with a Distant Town, 1850s-60s, Maxime Lalanne, charcoal with stumping, scratching, and lifting on laid paper. Courtesy of a private collection

  • Head of Sleeping Bacchante

    Head of Sleeping Bacchante, 1847, Gustave Courbet, fabricated black chalk with stumping, lifting, and scratching on laid paper. The J. Paul Getty Museum

  • They Spruce Themselves Up

    They Spruce Themselves Up, 1799, Francisco de Goya; etching, aquatint, burnished aquatint, drypoint, and burin on laid paper. The Norton Simon Art Foundation, Pasadena, California

  • Actresses in their Dressing Rooms

    Actresses in their Dressing Rooms, 1879-80, Edgar Degas, etching and aquatint on wove paper. Los Angeles County Museum of Art, purchased with funds provided by Mr. and Mrs. John C. Best, Dr. and Mrs. Donovan Byer, Mr. and Mrs. Billy Wilder, the Garrett Corporation Fund, and other donors. Image: www.lacma.org

  • The Cat at the Window

    The Cat at the Window, about 1857-58, Jean-François Millet, conte crayon and pastel with stumping and blending on wove paper. The J. Paul Getty Museum

  • Indian Holy Man

    Indian Holy Man, about 1878-79, Georges Seurat, charcoal and powdered charcoal with stumping and lifting on laid paper. The J. Paul Getty Museum

  • Fishing Port

    Fishing Port, 1864, Rodolphe Bresdin, black ink and orange colored pencil with scratching on prepared card. The J. Paul Getty Museum, purchased in part with funds provided by the Disegno Group

Noir: The Romance of Black in 19th-Century French Drawings and Prints

February 9–May 15, 2016, Getty Center

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In the mid 19th century, French artists began depicting shadowy, often nocturnal or twilight scenes in which forms appear to emerge out of darkness. This quest for darkened realms led them to explore new subject matter, such as dream states and non-idealized representations of contemporary life.

The range and availability of black drawing materials exploded with the Industrial Revolution, along with improvements in working methods. This coincided with an interest in painterly techniques, not only in drawing but also in printmaking. It is impossible to say what influences came first, but what followed was a graphic exploration of darkness that constitutes an important moment in the history of Modernism.

This exhibition examines the inspiration that artists drew from their materials, and their expression of darkness in all its imaginative and narrative associations. Works are drawn from the Museum’s permanent collection and loans from private and public Los Angeles collections.

RELATED EVENTS

TALKS
Black Drawings in 19th-Century France: The Modernist Trajectory

Lee Hendrix, senior curator of drawings at the Getty, investigates the explosion of black drawing materials (such as charcoals and chalks) in France during the 19th century. These new media contributed to a growing awareness of the material qualities of the drawing as an object.
Thursday, February 18, 7 p.m.
Getty Center: Museum Lecture Hall
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Realist Drawings Reanimated

Reflecting on five decades of engagement with 19th-century realist drawings, Gabriel Weisberg, professor of art history at the University of Minnesota, discusses French and Belgian artists who invested urban and rural themes with a dignity and piety that rivaled the best painters of the Dutch 17th century.
Tuesday, April 12, 7 p.m.
Getty Center: Museum Lecture Hall

TOURS
Specialist's Gallery Tour

Timothy Mayhew, artist, scientist, and charcoal expert, leads a gallery tour of the exhibition Noir: The Romance of Black in 19th-Century French Drawings and Prints. Meet under the stairs in the Entrance Hall.
Tuesday, February 9, 12:00 and 2:00 p.m.

TALK / CONCERT
Sonnets and Sonatas Presents Let There Be Night!

A lecture and concert exploring how artists, poets, and composers give form to darkness and night. Musical performances by students and faculty from the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music include works by Chopin, Debussy, Schubert, and Saint-Saëns.
Saturday, May 7, 7:30 p.m.
Getty Center: Harold M. Williams Auditorium

COURSES
Drawing Workshop: Darkened Realms

Join artist and educator Richard Houston in this daylong drawing workshop investigating the materials, techniques, and inspiration of innovative 19th-century French artists.
Saturday, March 5, 10:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m.
Getty Center: Museum Studios

Drawing From the Masters: The Art of Darkness

Explore the expressive power of light and shadow with artist Kaitlynn Redell. All experience levels welcome. Participants are encouraged to bring sketchpads. Free; sign-up begins at 2:30 p.m. at the Information Desk.
Sunday, March 6 and 20, 3:30-5:30 p.m.
Getty Center: Museum Galleries

FILM
Saturday Nights at the Getty: Le Révélateur

Philadelphia-based harpist Mary Lattimore and multi-instrumentalist Jeff Zeigler perform original live scores to Philippe Garrel's Le Révélateur and Guy Maddin's Odilon Redon or the Eye Like A Strange Balloon Mounts Toward Infinity, two enigmatic films that mine the dark, dreamlike aesthetic explored in the exhibition Noir: The Romance of Black in 19th-Century French Drawings and Prints.
February 27, 7:30 p.m.
Getty Center: Harold M. Williams Auditorium

PERFORMANCE
Selected Shorts: Let Us Tell You a Story

The popular public radio podcast Selected Shorts returns for a weekend of live performances of stories exploring darkness and light. Hollywood and stage actors perform adventurous fiction that leads you through a landscape of treachery, madness, and redemption.
Saturday, March 19, 4:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.; Sunday, March 20, 4:00 p.m.
Getty Center: Harold M. Williams Auditorium

MOBILE TOUR

Free GettyGuide® Multimedia Player

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Experts delve into the inspiration and material influences behind 19th century French artists’ exploration of dark subject matter. Pick up a multimedia player free of charge in the Museum Entrance Hall.

VIDEO



Drawing with Charcoal: Historical Techniques of 19th Century France
Charcoal drawing techniques were perfected in France in the 19th century and taken to new expressive heights by artists such as Georges Seurat and Odilon Redon. This video includes a demonstration of those techniques.

PUBLICATION

Publications are available in the Getty Museum Store, by calling (310) 440-7333, or online.

Read excerpts of an essay from the book: “Revivals and Modernity: The Printed Image in Nineteenth-Century France,” by Cynthia Burlingham

Exhibition Checklist

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