San Francisco is… keeping its hats on

[In the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, hats were a social obsession, subjects of acclaim and critique. The Paris millinery industry was at its financial and creative peak between the mid-1870s and 1914, the period between the Franco-Prussian War and the outbreak of the World War I, decades that coincided with the ear of French Impressionism. The women who made and sold hats – milliners, or modistes in French – as well as those who purchased them, fascinated Edgar Degas and other artists in his circle.] Bonnets of the 1880s by Mangin Maurice (left) & Cordeau et Laugaudin (right)


Bonnet, ca. 1894 by an unknown designer, France


Jean Béraud, 1849-1935
Fashionable Woman on the Champs-Élysées, n.d.
Oil on canvas


Edgar Degas (1834-1917)
Woman Adjusting Her Hair, ca. 1884
Oil on canvas


Hat by Maison Virot, ca. 1900 (with alterations)


Hat by Camille Marchais, ca. 1895


Bonnet by Mesdemoiselles Cotel, ca. 1885 (left) & Capote by E. Gauthier, ca. 1890


Hat by Caroline Reboux, ca. 1904-1905 (left) & by Au Bon Marché, retailer, ca. 1884


Capote by Auguste Poussineau, known as A. Félix, ca. 1880-1885 (front) & Hat by Monsieur Heitz-Boyer, 1898 (back)


Hat by an unknown designer, ca. 1890


Édouard Manet (1832-1883)
Berthe Morisot, ca. 1869-1873
Oil on canvas


Louise Catherine Breslau (1856-1927)
The Milliners, 1899
Pastel on paper mounted on board


Paul-César Helleu (1859-1927)
The Final Touch, ca 1885
Pastel on paper


Degas, Impressionism, and the Paris Millinery Trade exhibition ran until September 2017 @ the Legion of Honor*

July 07th, 2017

*If, by any chance, September 2018 finds you in San Francisco, please do make me jealous and go see the current exhibition, Truth and Beauty: The Pre-Raphaelites and the Old Masters!

A Curious Hand: The Prints of Henri-Charles Guérard (1846-1897)

These and a lot more from ”the engraver of curiosity par excellence” can be viewed at the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building until February 26th, 2017.

Don’t go in a rush, the exhibition is more extensive than one might expect; although this was supposed to be an added bonus to my visit, it quickly became apparent that it merits a lot more attention than a mere skimming through.
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Henri-Charles Guérard, Porte-bouquet et crabe (Vase and Crab), 1882, Colour etching

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Henri-Charles Guérard, After Diego Velásquez. Portrait du cardinal infant Don Fernando (Portrait of Cardinal Infante Don Fernando as a Hunter), 1888, Etching

[Beginning in the 1870s, Guérard assisted Édouard Manet with biting and pulling his prints, and their working relationship eventually blossomed into a friendship. In 1879, Guérard married Eva Gonzalès, Manet’s favourite pupil, who died in childbirth in 1883 shortly after Manet’s own death. Manet was not only a friend and colleague of Guérard’s but also an important source of inspiration.]

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Eduard Manet, Printed by Henri-Charles Guérard. The Boy with Soap Bubbles, 1868-69, Etching
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Henri-Charles Guérard, Soleil couchant (Setting Sun), 1895-96, Woodcut

[The image, which shows a troop of tiny Japanese men climbing energetically over a woman’s shoe of Western style, captures the droll and occasionally baffling behaviour of the figures in Hokusai manga. Women’s feet and, especially, their shoes have long been fetishized in both the West and the East, and the conduct of the ”assailants”, which includes a figure clambering on the slipper’s ruffled pompom, is suggestive. The impression shown here reveal Guérard experimenting with jaunty colours, one hot pink, the other bright yellow.]

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Henri-Charles Guérard, L’Assaut du soulier (The Assault of the Shoe), ca. 1888. Etching, drypoint and aquatint with roulette in pink and yellow

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[Guérard designed these multipurpose sheets for menus or notecards. They exhibit a whimsical mashup of Western and Japanese art and include a number of his favourite motifs, including the monkey spilling ink, the marionette, Japanese masks, and even his dog, Azor. References to cooking, including the buffoonish figure in an apron and the men wearing chef’s hats, make the connection to menus.]

All notes are from the accompanying captions and brochure (available also on-line).

New York Public Library
Stephen A. Schwarzman Building
476 Fifth Avenue (42nd St and Fifth Ave)

New York, NY, 10018

November 27th, 2016