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

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


West Pavilion, Plaza Level

Beginning around 1840, French artists began depicting shadowy, often nocturnal or twilight scenes in which forms emerge and sink back into darkness. This quest for darkened realms accompanied an exploration of new forms of subject matter, such as dream states and nonidealized representations of the poor and working class, and new black drawing materials, such as man-made charcoal, black chalk, and conté crayon. Using drawings and prints from the Getty's permanent collection and loans from private and public Los Angeles collections, this exhibition examines how artists such as Rodolphe Bresdin, Maxime Lalanne, Odilon Redon, and Georges Seurat championed these new, dark subjects.

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