Exhibitions: Frederic Bazille: Prophet of Impressionism

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Frederic Bazille: Prophet of Impressionism

  • Dates: November 13, 1992 through January 24, 1993
  • Collections: European Art
Press Releases ?
  • July 1992: The first major exhibition in the United States in almost two decades of works by little-known, but pivotal French painter Frédéric Bazille (1841-1870), whose career was cut short by his death at the age of 28 in the Franco-Prussian War, will be on view at The Brooklyn Museum from November 12, 1992, through January 24, 1993. Entitled Frédéric Bazille: Prophet of Impressionism, the exhibition will include some 60 paintings and works on paper, among them ten recently discovered works.

    Funding for Frédéric Bazilie: Prophet of Impressionism and the accompanying exhibition catalogue have been made possible at The Brooklyn Museum by a generous grant from the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Foundation.

    The exhibition, which incorporates newly discovered archival material from the artist’s family, was organized at the Musée Fabre, in Montpellier, France, the largest repository of Bazille’s work. It has been coordinated in the United States by Elizabeth Easton, Associate Curator of European Painting and Sculpture at Brooklyn, who has expanded the exhibition with the addition of several works that were not able to travel to Montpellier. The exhibition will travel to The Dixon Gallery and Gardens in Memphis where it will be on view February 14-April 25, 1993.

    Admired by artists, critics, and scholars for the freshness and directness of his canvases and for the way in which he assimilated both radically new and academic techniques, Bazille may have become one of the greatest artists of the Impressionist generation had he lived. The works included in the exhibition range from plein-air sketches and portraits of himself and his artist friends to the Veronese-inspired La Toilette, which was rejected by the Salon in the year of Bazille’s death.

    Frédéric Bazille was born in Montpellier to an affluent middle-class family with connections to the Parisian intelligensia. After failing his medical exams in 1864, he began to devote his full attention to painting. Although, with the support of his family he set up a studio in Paris, he continued his attachment throughout his life to his native city which, along with the surrounding countryside, was the subject of more than half of his work. Throughout his short career Bazille was the intimate of many other painters, including Renoir and Monet, with whom he shared a studio for a time, as well as Cezanne, Fantin-Latour, Manet, Sisley, and others. At the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian War, Bazille enlisted in the Third Infantry, the most dangerous of the shock troops. A month short of his 29th birthday, he was killed in an attack on Beaune-la-Rolande. His body was found by his father and borne home on a cart to his native Montpellier for burial.

    Like the early works of his better-known friends, Bazille’s landscapes and portraits are painted with the clarity and freshness that have become syno[ono]mous with the early years of Impressionism. His untimely death, however, has caused him to be excluded from most of the major new scholarly exhibitions on on Impressionism, which begin their focus in the 1870s. The most recent exhibition of his work was in 1978 at the Art Institute of Chicago.

    “Bazille’s oeuvre is small and the majority of his works will be included in the exhibition. For the first time museum-goers on the East Coast will have an opportunity to view the impressive work of this important, but relatively unknown artist who was one of the outstanding painters of his generation,” comments Elizabeth Easton.

    The Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Foundation was established in 1978 to fund medical, educational, and cultural institutions and programs. Among its many activities, the Foundation organizes exhibitions based on works from the Cantor’s extensive art collection, which includes the world’s most comprehensive private collection of Auguste Rodin sculptures.

    An accompanying catalogue published by The Brooklyn Museum is the only available book in English about Bazille. Included are essays by Jean-Patrice Marandel, Curator of European Paintings at the Detroit Institute of Art, who curated the Chicago exhibition; Dianne Pitman, a Bazille scholar whose dissertation from Johns Hopkins was the first devoted to his work; and François Daulte, author of the Bazille catalogue raisonné.

    Brooklyn Museum Archives. Records of the Department of Public Information. Press releases, 1989 - 1994. 07-12/1992, 134-137. View Original 1 . View Original 2 . View Original 3 . View Original 4

  • November 1992: The Board of Trustees and the Director of
    The Brooklyn Museum
    cordially invite you to a private preview
    of the exhibition

    Frédéric Bazille: Prophet of Impressionism

    in honor of
    Iris and B. Gerald Cantor

    on Tuesday evening, November 10, 1992
    from six-thirty until eight-thirty o’clock

    The Brooklyn Museum
    200 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn, New York

    Kindly R.S.V.P. by November 2
    (718) 638-5000, ext. 200

    Presentation of the exhibition at
    The Brooklyn Museum is made possible by a
    generous grant from the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Foundation.

    [second page includes reproduction of painting]

    Brooklyn Museum Archives. Records of the Department of Public Information. Press releases, 1989 - 1994. 01-06/1991, 071-72. View Original 1 . View Original 2

  • November 1992: EXHIBITION TO INAUGURATE PORTION OF NEWLY RENOVATED WEST WING

    The first major exhibition in the United States in almost two decades of works by little-known, but pivotal French painter Frédéric Bazille (1841-1870), whose career was cut short by his death at the age of 28 in the Franco-Prussian War, will be on view at The Brooklyn Museum from November 13, 1992, through January 24, 1993. Entitled Frédéric Bazille: Prophet of Impressionism, the exhibition will include some 50 paintings and works on paper. It will inaugurate the fourth-floor special exhibition gallery of the newly renovated West Wing of The Brooklyn Museum.

    The exhibition has been made possible at The Brooklyn Museum by a generous grant from the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Foundation.

    Frédéric Bazille: Prophet of Impressionism, which incorporates newly discovered archival material from the artist’s family, has been organized by The Brooklyn Museum in association with The Dixon Gallery and Gardens, Memphis. It was developed from an exhibition of Bazille and his contemporaries entitled Frédéric Bazille et ses amis impressionnistes, organized by the City of Montpellier and the Musée Fabre, the largest repository of Bazille’s work. It has been curated in the United States by Elizabeth Easton, Associate Curator of European Painting and Sculpture at Brooklyn, who has expanded the exhibition with the addition of several works that were not able to travel to Montpellier. The exhibition will travel to The Dixon Gallery and Gardens, where it will be on view February 14-April 25, 1993.

    Admired by artists, critics, and scholars for the freshness and directness of his canvases and for the way in which he assimilated both radically new and academic techniques, Bazille may have become one of the greatest artists of the Impressionist generation had he lived. The works included in the exhibition range from plein-air sketches and portraits of himself and his artist friends to the Veronese-inspired La Toilette, which was rejected by the Salon in the year of Bazille’s death.

    Frédéric Bazille was born in Montpellier in the south of France to an affluent middle-class family with connections to the Parisian intelligentsia. After failing his medical exams in 1864, he began to devote his full attention to painting. Although with the support of his family he set up a studio in Paris, he continued his attachment throughout his life to his native city which, along with the surrounding countryside, was the subject of more than half of his work. Throughout his short career Bazille was the intimate of many other painters, including Renoir and Monet, with whom he shared a studio for a time, as well as Cézanne, Fantin-Latour, Manet, Sisley, and others. At the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian War, Bazille enlisted in the Third Infantry, the most dangerous of the shock troops. A month short of his 29th birthday, he was killed in an attack on Beaune-la-Rolande. His body was found by his father and borne home on a cart to his native Montpellier for burial.

    Like the early works of his better-known friends, Bazille’s landscapes and portraits are painted with the clarity and freshness that have become synonymous with the early years of Impressionism. His untimely death, however, has caused him to be excluded from most of the major new scholarly exhibitions on Impressionism, which begin their focus in the 1870s. The most recent exhibition of his work was in 1978 at The Art Institute of Chicago.

    “Bazille’s oeuvre is small and the majority of his works will be included in the exhibition. For the first time museum-goers on the East Coast will have an opportunity to view the impressive work of this important, but relatively unknown artist who was one of the outstanding painters of his generation,” comments Elizabeth Easton.

    An accompanying catalogue published by The Brooklyn Museum is the only available book in English about Bazille. Included are essays by Jean-Patrice Marandel, Curator of European Paintings at The Detroit Institute of Arts, who curated the Chicago exhibition; Dianne Pitman, a Bazille scholar whose dissertation from Johns Hopkins was the first devoted to his work; and François Daulte, author of the Bazille catalogue raisonné.

    Frédéric Bazille: Prophet of Impressionism has been organized by The Brooklyn Museum in association with The Dixon Gallery and Gardens, Memphis. It was developed from an exhibition of Bazille and his contemporaries entitled Frédéric Bazille et ses amis impressionnistes organized by the City of Montpellier and the Musée Fabre.

    The exhibition is supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and Humanities. Federal Express Corporation is the official carrier for the exhibition. Support for the English edition of the catalogue was provided by the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

    The Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Foundation was established in 1978 to fund medical, educational, and cultural institutions and programs. Among its many activities, the Foundation organizes exhibitions based on works from the Cantors’ extensive art collection, which includes the world’s most comprehensive private collection of Auguste Rodin sculptures.

    Brooklyn Museum Archives. Records of the Department of Public Information. Press releases, 1989 - 1994. 07-12/1992, 180-183. View Original 1 . View Original 2 . View Original 3 . View Original 4

  • November 1992: WORKS IN THE EXHIBITION

    All works are by Frédéric Bazille unless otherwise stated. Dimensions are given in centimeters; height preceeds width. Works are listed alphabetically within chronological order, undated works last. An asterisk (*) after a title indicates color slides are available; a plus sign (+) indicates 8 x 10 inch black and white prints are available.

    MALE NUDE
    1863
    Charcoal on paper, 62 x 47
    Montpellier, Musée Fabre

    SAINT-SAUVEUR
    1863
    Oil on canvas, 75 x 120
    New York, Private collection

    THE MYSTIC MARRIAGE OF SAINT CATHERINE
    (Copy after Veronese)
    1863-64
    Oil on canvas, 125 x 125
    Beaune-la-Rolande, parish church

    THE PINK DRESS
    1864
    Oil on canvas, 145 x 110
    Paris, Musée d’Orsay

    RECLINING NUDE
    1864
    Oil on canvas, 70 x 180
    Montpellier, Musée Fabre

    THE SCOTER-DUCK
    1864
    Oil on canvas, 45 x 37
    New York, Private collection

    SOUP BOWL COVERS
    1864
    Oil on canvas, 22 x 35
    Private collection

    Recto: Study for RECLINING NUDE/
    Verso: PORTRAIT OF A MAN
    1864
    Charcoal on paper, R: 42 x 57; V: 57 x 42
    Montpellier, Musée Fabre

    WOMAN VIEWED FROM BEHIND
    1864
    Oil on canvas, 63 x 48
    Paris, Private collection (courtesy of Galerie Schmit)

    THE EDGE OF THE FONTAINEBLEAU FOREST
    (n.d.)
    Oil on canvas, 60 x 73
    Paris, Musée d’Orsay

    THE FARM AT SAINT-SAUVEUR
    1865
    Oil on canvas, 60 x 140
    Paris, Private collection (courtesy of Galerie Schmit)

    THE IMPROVISED FIELD HOSPITAL
    (Monet after his accident at the Inn of Chailly)
    1865
    Oil on canvas, 47 x 62
    Paris, Musée d’Orsay

    LANDSCAPE AT CHAILLY
    1865
    Oil on canvas, 82 x 105
    Chicago, The Art Institute of Chicago, Charles H. and Mary F.S. Worcester Collection

    SEASCAPE (THE BEACH AT SAINTE-ADRESSE)
    1865
    Oil on canvas, 50 x 140
    Atlanta, The High Museum of Art, Gift of the Forward Arts Foundation in honor of Frances Floyd Cocke

    STUDIO ON THE RUE DE FURSTENBERG *
    1865
    Oil on canvas, 80 x 65
    Montpellier, Musée Fabre

    STILL LIFE OF FISH
    1866
    Oil on canvas, 63 x 83
    Detroit, The Detroit Institute of Arts

    TWO HERRINGS
    1866-67
    Oil on canvas, 41 x 27
    Private collection

    AIGUES-MORTES +
    1867
    Oil on canvas, 40 x 55
    Montpellier, Musée Fabre

    PORTE DE LA REINE AT AIGUES-MORTES
    1867
    Oil on canvas, 80.6 x 99.7
    New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art

    THE ROSE LAURELS (THE TERRACE AT MÉRIC)
    1867
    Oil on canvas, 55.9 x 99.1
    Cincinnati, Cincinnati Art Museum

    STILL LIFE WITH HERON *
    1867
    Oil on canvas, 100 x 79
    Montpellier, Musée Fabre

    STUDIO ON THE RUE VISCONTI
    1867
    Oil on canvas, 64 x 49
    Richmond, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon

    Study for THE FAMILY GATHERING
    1867
    Charcoal and pencil on paper, 30 x 30
    Paris, Musée du Louvre

    YOUNG WOMAN WITH LOWERED EYES
    1867
    Oil on canvas, 46 x 38
    Private collection

    FRÉDÉRIC BAZILLE AT SAINT-SAUVEUR +
    Before 1868
    Oil on canvas, 40 x 31
    Montpellier, Musée Fabre

    FISHERMAN WITH A NET * +
    1868
    Oil on canvas, 134 x 83
    Zurich, Rau Foundation for the Third World

    FLOWERS
    1868
    Oil on canvas, 130 x 97
    Grenoble, Musée de Peinture et de Sculpture

    PORTRAIT OF ALPHONSE TISSIÉ *
    1868
    Oil on canvas, 58 x 47
    Montpellier, Musée Fabre

    VIEW OF THE VILLAGE * +
    1868
    Oil on canvas, 130 x 89
    Montpellier, Musée Fabre

    VIEW OF THE VILLAGE
    1868
    Etching, 24 x 16.2
    Montpelier, Musée Fabre

    Studies for A GRAPE HARVEST
    1868-69
    Oil on canvas, 38 x 92 (each)
    Montpellier, Musée Fabre

    PORTRAIT OF EDMOND MAITRE +
    1869
    Oil on canvas, 84 x 65
    Washington, D.C., National Gallery of Art, Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon

    SUMMER SCENE (BATHERS) * +
    1869
    Oil on canvas, 158.2 x 158.8
    Cambridge, Massachusetts, Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University Art Museums,
    Gift of Mr. and Mrs. John B. O’Hara Fund and a gift from Colonel C. Michael Paul

    AFRICAN WOMAN WITH PEONIES +
    1870
    Oil on canvas, 60 x 75
    Montpellier, Musée Fabre

    BUST OF RUTH

    1870
    Charcoal on paper, 12 x 17
    Private collection

    HEAD, ARM, AND BUST OF RUTH
    1870
    Charcoal on white paper, 60 x 47
    Private collection

    LANDSCAPE ON THE BANKS OF THE LEZ
    1870
    Oil on canvas, 137.2 x 203.2
    Minneapolis, The Minneapolis Institute of Arts

    LOUIS AURIOL FISHING *
    Circa 1870
    Oil on canvas, 103 x 55
    New York, Private collection

    Study of RUTH
    1870
    Charcoal and pastel on paper, 21 x 39
    Private collection

    LA TOILETTE
    1870
    Oil on canvas, 132 x 127
    Montpellier, Musée Fabre

    THE FORTUNE TELLER
    (n.d.)
    Oil on canvas, 61 x 46
    Private collection

    MALE NUDE
    (n.d.)
    Oil on canvas, 60 x 43
    Private collection

    MAN SUBDUING A BULL
    (n.d.)
    Charcoal and pencil on paper, 11 x 15
    Montpellier, Musée Fabre

    MANET DRAWING
    (n.d.)
    Charcoal on paper, 29.5 x 21.5
    New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art

    PORTRAIT OF A MAN
    (n.d.)
    Oil on canvas, 54 x 46
    Minneapolis, The Minneapolis Institute of Arts

    PORTRAIT OF PAUL VERLAINE AS A TROUBADOUR
    (n.d.)
    Oil on canvas, 46 x 38
    Dallas, The Dallas Museum of Art

    SELF-PORTRAIT WITH PALETTE
    (n.d.)
    Oil on canvas, 135 x 80
    Chicago, The Art Institute of Chicago, Restricted gift of Mr. and Mrs. Frank H. Woods in memory of Mrs. Edward Harris Brewer

    PORTRAIT OF BAZILLE
    By Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841-1919)
    1867
    Oil on canvas, 106 x 74
    Paris, Musée d’Orsay

    Brooklyn Museum Archives. Records of the Department of Public Information. Press releases, 1989 - 1994. 07-12/1992, 184-188. View Original 1 . View Original 2 . View Original 3 . View Original 4 . View Original 5

  • November 1992: 1841
    Born on December 6 in Montpellier in the south of France to Camille-Victorine-Marguérite Vialars and Gaston Bazille.

    1845
    Birth of his younger brother, Claude Marc Bazille, on May 9.

    1859
    Receives his Bachelor of Sciences diploma on April 9. Registers at the medical school in Montpellier on September 1. Takes drawing lessons with the Baussans, father and son, sculptors in Montpellier, during the years preceding his departure for Paris.

    1860
    Receives satisfactory results on first-year medical school examinations.

    1861
    Defers second-year medical school examinations. Takes them again on September 11 with mediocre results.

    1862
    Receives satisfactory results on end-of-year examinations. Departs for Paris on November 1. Introduced into the studio of Charles Gleyre by a friend of his cousin, the painter Eugène Castelnau. Registers at the Paris medical school.

    1863
    Begins to write his parents about the possibility of renting his own studio. In March meets Claude Monet and the son of Viscount Lepic, later a friend of Degas, in the Gleyre studio. Spends eight days in the little town of Chailly with Monet, who gives him some painterly advice. Attends spring Salon exhibition often. Spends the summer in Montpellier and travels back to Paris in late September with a letter of recommendation to Gustave Courbet, provided by Auguste Fajon. Cultivates a friendship with Monet, who invites him to spend a few days at Le Havre.

    1864
    Rents his first studio on January 15 with a painter friend, Émile Villa, also from Montpellier and a student of Gleyre, at 119 rue de Vaugirard. Takes his medical examinations, which were postponed several times, and fails first attempt at anatomy examination. Leaves Paris again with Monet to paint in Honfleur. In July, having returned to Paris, he prepares for medical examinations, which he again fails. With little hope for a medical career, Bazille is advised by Monet to seriously apply himself to painting. Goes on a painting holiday in Méric where he paints The Pink Dress. Returns in November to Paris but no longer studies at Gleyre’s studio. Frequently works in Monet’s studio to take advantage of the models.

    1865
    Moves with Monet into a new studio just above Delacroix’s and paints Studio on the rue de Furstenberg. Returns to Chailly in May, when he probably paints Landscape at Chailly and makes another trip there in August at Monet’s request, where he poses for Monet’s Déjeuner sur l’herbe. Monet injures himself, and Bazille portrays him in The Improvised Field Hospital. Spends most of the fall in Montpellier.

    1866
    Rents a new studio at 22 rue Godot de Mauroy. Submits two works to the Salon: Young Woman at the Piano is refused; Still Life of Fish is accepted. Moves to another studio on the rue Visconti with Auguste Renoir, whom he knew from the Gleyre studio. Paints The Terrace at Méric and busies himself over the winter with nude figure studies.

    1867
    Monet stays with Bazille and Renoir for a month. The Terrace at Méric and the first Portrait of Edmond Maître are refused by the Salon. With Renoir, Sisley, and others, he signs a petition calling for a Salon des Refusés and becomes interested in the possibility of a regular exhibition forum, which is abandoned for lack of funds. Paints Studio on the rue Visconti in April-May. Bazille buys Monet’s painting Women in the Garden for 2,500 francs. Spends summer in Aigues-Mortes, where Monet frequently writes him for money. Upon his return to Paris, rents a much larger studio in the Batignolles quarter.

    1868
    Develops deep friendship with Edmond Maître. Finishes The Family Gathering and exhibits it along with Flower Pots at the Salon. Begins studies for Grape Harvest. Named godfather to Jean Monet, son of Monet and Camille Doncieux.

    1869
    Paints second Portrait of Edmond Maître. View of the Village accepted for the Salon. Paints Summer Scene and reworks Fisherman with a Net. Attends opera and concerts with friends Renoir and Maître.

    1870
    Rents new studio on rue des Beaux-Arts in the same building as Fantin-Latour. In spring paints La Toilette and two versions of African Woman with Peonies. The Bathers is accepted at the Salon. France declares war against Prussia on July 19, 1870. Bazille enlists in the Third Regiment of Zouaves on August 16 and sets sail on August 30 from Philippeville. On September 27 his regiment leaves Algeria. On November 28 Bazille is killed at the battle of Beaune-la-Rolande by two bullets in the stomach.

    Brooklyn Museum Archives. Records of the Department of Public Information. Press releases, 1989 - 1994. 07-12/1992, 189-190. View Original 1 . View Original 2

Press Coverage of this Exhibition ?

  • THE NEW SEASON/ART; ONE CRITIC'S CHOICESSeptember 13, 1992 By Roberta Smith"Every art season has a veritable Alps of high points, a cluster of important yet slightly intimidating exhibitions to scale. This year we've got Matisse at the Modern, Magritte at the Metropolitan, the Russians at the Guggenheim -- shows of such size that they almost seem like too much of a good thing. As a result, the mind often eases into the new..."
  • Review/Art; A Tragic Harbinger of the NewNovember 13, 1992 By MICHAEL KIMMELMAN"ONE of the first paintings to be seen in the fine retrospective of Frederic Bazille opening today at the Brooklyn Museum is not especially fine. The stiffness of the figures in a copy of Veronese's "Mystic Marriage of St. Catherine" betrays the gropings of a young painter. Still, as Bazille's only significant depiction of a religious subject, the..."
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