A note on the Goncourt Brothers at the 1852 Salon: "Our kind of realism"
by Stéphane Guégan
Although little read nowadays, the Salon de 1852 by the Goncourt brothers marked their entrance into the world of art criticism in Paris. They modelled themselves on Diderot, Gautier and Baudelaire, but were not afraid to move away from these eminent role models when they wanted to pan the big names of the time. In their search for a new Géricault who would stem the Realist tide, they chose Couture, in their opinion the most talented modern painter. A return to a forgotten text and the issues of the time.
Jean-Louis Hamon. The Neo-Grecs and the taste for classical antiquity in the 1850s
by Sébastien Quéquet
In the mid-1840s, a "free and fun-loving set, full of youthful energy and satirical wit" was attracted to the studio in rue de Fleurus, shared by the painters Hamon, Picou, Gérôme and Boulanger. Frequently in opposition to the music and literature of their time, the Neo-Grecs established a style where contemporary issues were presented in a classical Greek context. Far from being restricted to pastiche or parodying a bygone era, their paintings drew inspiration from unexpected sources, and were capable of provoking existentialist questions.
Thomas Couture and America
by Bénédicte Ottinger
During the final decade of his career, the work of Thomas Couture (1815-1879) satisfied an increasing demand from the American market. While some considered the works of art destined for display on the other side of the Atlantic as too commercial, it is useful to reappraise this major 19th century artist in the light of his links with the New World. Moreover, Couture's approach sheds light on the way the American art world operated at a time when the vogue for European painting was becoming more widespread through art dealers and the artist's pupils.
Art Nouveau Revival: Film sets in 1960s France
by Philippe Thiébaut
Art Nouveau was reborn in the 1960s after a long period in limbo. Film makers and their set designers played an essential, if frequently unrecognised role in this resurrection. Devalued but evocative, and modern in its dynamism, the Art Nouveau style could accommodate and appeal in any scene, from the world of gangsters to that of illicit love affairs.
Bibliography of reviews
The Société des Amis du Musée d'Orsay