Impressionism, Fashion, and Modernity

     Impressionism, Fashion, and Modernity at the Metropolitan Museum of Art  is on view  through      May 27th. .  It came from the    Musée d’Orsay  of Paris and goes next to the Art Institute of Chicago.

     The show consists of 80 paintings plus 16 period costumes and an array of accessories.

     The show opens with Monet’s Monet’s Camille ( a 1866 painting of the artist’s lover and future wife), whose green and black striped dress is perfectly rendered with jewel-like quality.

     “The latest fashion...is absolutely necessary for a painting. It’s what matters most,” read  a quotation by Edouard Manet displayed at the entrance.

     The second room takes up a defining moment in Impressionism - plein air painting   or painting executed outdoors.  It’s a wonderful experience to look at Monet’s "Women in the Gardens"   from  d'Orsay and then turn around to see the actual  dress from the painting.

     The two rooms that follow, "The White Dress" and "The Black Dress," are like two piano keys, YIN and YANG, day and night.  The first one  show different women dressed in similar white gowns, day wear, peignoirs,  that join them together in a union of style. In the next room, black dresses foretell the chic modernity of Coco Chanel.

     It’s a rare opportunity  to see the work of the Manet, Monet, Renior, and Degas in an expanded field of visual culture including photographers, fashion magazines and  calling cards.

     By the time you round the last corner, glancing back to look one last time, you realize that current fashion has stormed the art world and plans to stay.  As Monet put it, “The latest fashion…is absolutely necessary for a painting.  It’s what matters most"

     The show catalog is excellent but if you buy it from Amazon it is much cheaper. And do not forget that the price of the museum ticket- 25 dollars is not mandatory but "pay what you wish".