Musée d'Orsay: Masks, from Carpeaux to Picasso

Masks, from Carpeaux to Picasso


Arnold BöcklinShield with Gorgon's head© RMN-Grand Palais (Musée d'Orsay) / Hervé Lewandowski
Revealing while concealing, serving both religion and worldly pleasure, the mask goes back to the dawn of time. In the late 19th century, when the principles of Naturalism were being confronted, it saw a massive, inventive and somewhat disconcerting revival, benefiting from the interest at the time in ancient Greece, Japan and close-up photographic portraits.

All the arts contributed to the revival of the mask, from painting to avant-garde theatre. Some of the most creative artists of the time, throughout the whole of Europe — Ensor, Munch, Vallotton, Böcklin, Klinger, Gauguin and Picasso — added their names and their aesthetic to this strange fashion.


Edouard Papet, chief curator, Musée d'Orsay

Exhibition also presented in Darmstadt, Institut Mathildenhöhe, from 8 march to 7 June 2009 and Copenhague, Ny Carlsberg Glypotek, summer 2009

With the support of the Matmut Group

Groupe Matmut
21 October 2008 - 1 February 2009
Musée d'Orsay

Rooms 68, 69 and 70

With the support of
Groupe Matmut

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