Category Archives: Knoedler and Company Exhibition Catalogs

Connecting the Collections: Édouard Manet

Édouard Manet (1832-1883) is a seminal figure in 19th century French painting. Two works from 1863 — “Le déjeuner sur l’herbe” and “Olympia” — caused great controversy but also earned him the esteem of many other young French artists (such as Courbet, Cézanne, Monet and Gauguin). He continued to inspire and infuriate throughout his career, and is now regarded as one of the great artistic figures of his time.

The Digital Collections has a significant amount of material relating to Manet, material that spans across a number of collections. For instance, in the Manuscripts collection we have a letter titled, “E. Manet letter to ‘Mon cher Duret’, undated”:

Manet to Duret

Manet to Duret

The “cher Duret” being addressed here is the art critic, collector, and dealer Théodore Duret (1838-1927). Duret was an early advocate and supporter of the Impressionists, and an ally and friend of Manet’s. In 1868, Manet painted a portrait of his friend, which is now owned by the Petit Palais in Paris. Manet received a letter of thanks for the portrait from Duret that amusingly said, “I find your chap very gallant.” (1)

In our Metropolitan Museum of Art Publications collection, we have a 2003 exhibition catalog titled, Manet and the American Civil War: the battle of the U.S.S. Kearsarge and the C.S.S. Alabama:

Manet and the American Civil War

Manet and the American Civil War

In a press release available on the Met’s website about this exhibition, it says, “In June of 1864, an important episode in the American Civil War took place in international waters off the coast of Cherbourg, France. The duel between the U.S.S. Kearsarge and the C.S.S. Alabama created a sensation in Europe and America alike, and caught the imagination of the French artist Édouard Manet (1832-83), who made a painting of the battle before rushing to Boulogne to see the victorious Kearsarge. The Metropolitan Museum of Art recently acquired Manet’s portrait of the Kearsarge and to celebrate the acquisition will present a small exhibition devoted to the battle, Manet’s response, and the effect of Manet’s paintings on his immediate friends.”

From the Knoedler and Company Exhibition Catalogs collection, we have another exhibition catalog, Exhibition of nineteenth century French painters: at the galleries of M. Knoedler & Company, June 26 to July 21, 1923:

Exhibition of nineteenth century French painters

Exhibition of nineteenth century French painters

Though not devoted exclusively to the work of Manet, nine works of Manet’s were exhibited, and this catalog includes handwritten notes next to six of these paintings. For instance, next to catalog number 23, “Fillette à sa Toilette,” there is a pencil drawn arrow pointing to the number and the word “new” written next to it.

Finally, in our Auction Catalogs collection, we have, Catalogue de tableaux, pastels, études, dessins, gravures par Édouard Manet, et dépendant de sa succession: dont la vente aura lieu Hôtel Drouot, salles nos 8 et 9, les lundi 4 et mardi 5 février 1884, à deux heures:

Vente Manet, February 1884

Vente Manet, February 1884

This auction took place from Monday, February 4th to Tuesday, February 5th at Hôtel Drouot in Paris. In addition to a list of items sold, there are handwritten price notes by many of the items in the catalog.

To browse more material related to Manet in the digital collections, click here.

(1) Portrait of Théodore Duret. Retrieved from http://www.petitpalais.paris.fr/en/collections/portrait-theodore-duret on April 6, 2014.

Connecting the Collections: Eugène Delacroix

Currently the Digital Collections has 20 different collections. Searches can be done throughout the Digital Collections as a whole, or they can be done within specific collections.  Some subjects and artists appear throughout the Digital Collections, appearing in several different individual collections. One such artist is Eugène Delacroix (1798-1863), the renowned French Romantic painter. Works by and about him appear throughout the Digital Collections, and we will look at a few of these items here.

DelacroixHighlights1

This reproduction of the famous Delacroix self-portrait appears on the cover of an exhibition catalog entitled, Concerning Delacroix and Jules Breton, apropos of a special exhibition of their work at the galleries of M. Knoedler and Company (1888), which appears in the Knoedler & Co. Exhibition Catalogs collection. The catalog begins with this adulatory assessment of Delacroix’s significance, “If we may say, with an acute contemporaneous critic, that Delacroix represents the supreme, the last, and the highest manifestation of the French genius in the domain of art…” This is how many 19th-century critics viewed Delacroix, as we will see again later in the post.

In the Metropolitan Museum of Art Publications collection, we have a 200-plus page 1991 exhibition catalog, Eugène Delacroix (1798-1863): paintings, drawings, and prints from North American collections:

DelacroixHighlights2

This catalog features essays by art historian and Delacroix specialist Lee Johnson, as well as many reproductions of Delacroix’s work.

From the Rare Books in The Metropolitan Museum of Art Libraries collection, we have Catalogue of celebrated paintings by great French masters, brought to this country from Paris, for exhibition only (1887), which includes a lengthy biographical sketch of Delacroix. It too begins with an adulatory assessment of the artist: “Ferdinand Victor Eugène Delacroix, the greatest, noblest, and most illustrious painter of the French school of the nineteenth century…”

DelacroixHighlights3

Finally, in the Auction Catalogs collection, we have Catalogue de sculptures originales: terres cuites, platres, bronzes groupes, statuettes, bustes, médaillons, esquisses, tableaux et dessins par J.-B. Carpeaux, dessins par Eug. Delacroix (1913), in which a number of Delacroix drawings were being auctioned.

DelacroixHighlights4

Delacroix, like several artists in the Digital Collections, appears in a number of different collections, from exhibition catalogs in the Metropolitan Museum of Art Publications, the Knoedler & Co. Exhibition Catalogs, and the Rare Books in The Metropolitan Museum of Art Libraries collections, to auction catalogs in our Auction Catalogs collection. We will try to “connect the Collections” in future posts as well, focusing on artists and subjects represented in a number of different collections within the Digital Collections.

Knoedler and Company Exhibition Catalogs

We recently completed scanning 898 catalogs and checklists published by Knoedler & Company between 1869 and 1946, comprising almost 14,000 pages of content. Below is the cover from a 1926 exhibition catalog on wax portraits by Ethel Frances Mundy:

Knoedler2

Knoedler & Company, established in the United States in 1857, was among the most important art dealers in New York City. Representing artists with an international scope, Knoedler’s strength was in exhibiting and selling contemporary art. For instance, five months after the death of legendary Swedish artist Anders Zorn, an exhibition of the artist’s work was held at Knoedler & Company (in January, 1921).  Featured below is a photograph from this catalog, with the caption “Anders Zorn, last photograph of the artist, died August 22nd, 1920”:

Knoedler2

Following our successful collaboration with the Frick Art Reference Library on the Macbeth Gallery Exhibition Catalogs project, we worked with the Arcade libraries (Frick Art Reference Library, Brooklyn Museum Libraries and Archives, and the Museum of Modern Art Library) and Knoedler & Company to identify exhibition catalogs, pamphlets, and checklists in our collections to create a series that is as complete as possible. Here’s the cover of a 1936 Alexandre Iacovleff exhibition catalog from the Frick Art Reference Library:

Knoedler1

More information on Knoedler & Company can be found through the Getty Research Institute, which has the Knoedler Gallery Archive. There’s also this article on The Getty Iris titled, “Treasures from the Vault: Knoedler, Mellon, and an Unlikely Sale,” that will be of interest to people curious to learn more about this important art dealer.

To browse all 898 items in the Digital Collections, click here.

Funding for this project was provided by the Lifchez-Stronach Preservation Fund for the Thomas J. Watson Library, The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Written by William Blueher and Dan Lipcan