The National Gallery has announced a major new exhibition that will not only examine Delacroix’s career but also moves beyond it to reveal the influence he had on other artists in the five decades after his death. 

Shipwreck on the Coast, 1862 (oil on canvas)
Eugene Delacroix, Shipwreck off a coast, 1862. (c) The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas/Bridgeman Images. 

Delacroix and the rise of Modern Art reveals how very few artists had quite the same impact on the world of art as he did. As one of the most famous and controversial artists during the first part of the 19th century, Delacroix’s work was constantly under scrutiny every time he exhibited.

But even after his death in 1863, his lasting influence on generations of artists as they attempted to find new directions for their art can be seen through many of the paintings which will be displayed in this new exhibition.

As the first major display of the artist’s work in Britain for 50 years, the exhibition provides visitors with an opportunity to rediscover this revolutionary artist.

Eugene Delacroix, Louis-Auguste Schwiter, 1826. (c) The National Gallery, London. 

Although he was idolised after his death by artists such as Manet, Cézanne, Renoir, Van Gogh, and Matisse, Delacroix’s name unlike theirs is not a household name.

The exhibition will include more than 60 works borrowed from public and private collections from around the world including the Musée du Louvre, Musée d’Orsay and the Petit Palais (Paris), the J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles), the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York), the National Gallery of Art (Washington), and the Van Gogh Museum (Amsterdam).

Over a third of the display will be made up of works by Delacroix, with highlights including: his Self-Portrait of about 1837, The Convulsionists of Tangiers of 1838 and the ferocious Lion Hunt of 1861.

Meanwhile, half of the exhibition will include the work of later artists who recognised Delacroix’s achievement. Among the masterpieces that have been selected for the display include: Van Gogh’s Pietà (after Delacroix), Matisse’s Study for ‘Luxe, calme et volupté’ and Bazille’s rarely seen La Toilette . 

Gabriele Finaldi, National Gallery Director said: “Delacroix is one of the defining painters of the 19th century; trailblazing, passionate, totally committed to his art, and immensely influential. The exhibition explores his achievement and his impact on painters as varied as Van Gogh and Kandinsky.”

Delacroix and the Rise of Modern Art opens to the public at the National Gallery from the 17th February to the 22nd May 2016. 


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