Exhibition

Splendour and Misery. Pictures of Prostitution, 1850-1910

From September 22nd, 2015 to January 17th, 2016
Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec-Au Moulin Rouge
Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec
Au Moulin Rouge, 1892-1895
The Art Institute of Chicago
Helen Birch Bartlett Memorial Collection, 1928.610
© The Art Institute of Chicago / DR

The first major show on the subject of prostitution, this exhibition attempts to retrace the way French and foreign artists, fascinated by the people and places involved in prostitution, have constantly sought to find new pictorial resources for depicting the realities and fantasies it implied.
From Manet's Olympia to Degas's Absinthe, from Toulouse-Lautrec and Munch's forays into brothels to the bold figures of Vlaminck, Van Dongen or Picasso, the exhibition focuses on showing the central place held by this shady world in the development of modern painting. The topic is also covered with regard to its social and cultural dimensions through Salon painting, sculpture, decorative arts décoratifs and photography. A wealth of documentary material recalls the ambivalent status of prostitutes, from the splendour of the demi-mondaine to the misery of the pierreuse (street walker).
Please note that some of the pieces presented in the exhibition may be shocking to some visitors (particularly children).

The exhibition is now over.

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