NASHVILLE, Tenn. – “Paris 1900: City of Entertainment” an exhibition that revives the splendor of the French capital at the turn of the 20th century, when millions visited the site of the International Exposition, is on display Oct. 12-Jan. 6, 2019 in the Ingram Gallery of the Frist Art Museum.
The Frist is the first of three venues in the United States to present this iteration of an exhibition that was originally on view at the Petit Palais in 2014. The exhibition is organized by the Petit Palais Museum of Fine Arts in Paris with additional loans from other Parisian museums.
With the International Exhibition of 1900 as its starting point, the exhibition offers a focused look at the different ways in which Paris became the entertainment capital of the world. Belle Époque Paris, a period of relative peace and prosperity 1874-1914, was the site of intense artistic and architectural innovation, which gave rise to entertainment forms that continue to remain relevant.
Bringing together more than 250 objects - paintings, prints, sculptures, decorative art, costumes and fashion accessories, posters, photographs, and more - kept mainly by the City of Paris museums, Paris 1900 immerses visitors in the era’s sparkling atmosphere of elegance, pleasure, and festivity. Major artists represented in the exhibition include Pierre Bonnard, Berthe Morisot, Camille Pissarro, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Auguste Rodin, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, and Édouard Vuillard, as well as many others working across multiple mediums.
The exhibition also tells the story of a vibrant and swiftly changing city. Although Paris was different from its representation in posters and advertisements, the turn of the century was indeed an exceptional time. The city was growing rapidly and had a population of nearly 3 million by 1914. Additionally, Paris attracted travelers for both business purposes and leisure activities.
The objects will be presented in six groupings: “Paris, Showcase of the World;” “Art Nouveau;” “Paris, Capital of the Arts;” “The Parisian Woman;” “Traversing Paris;” and “Paris by Night.”
The first section, “Paris: The World’s Showcase,” introduces visitors to the physical transformations the city underwent leading up to the International Exposition. Architectural drawings and paintings illustrate the building of the city’s first metro line and new train stations, bridges, and buildings like the Petit Palais and Sacré-Couer.
Perhaps the most emblematic artistic movement of the Belle Époque was Art Nouveau, an international style that drew inspiration from nature and tested the long-established hierarchy of art by valuing forms traditionally considered “minor,” such as bookbinding, posters, and jewelry.
Underscoring the rich variety of artistic movements of the period, “Paris, Capital of the Arts” features works by well-known Impressionist, Symbolist, and Nabis artists along with objects made by female sculptor Camille Claudel and academic painter Paul Émile Chabas.
The creative energy and innovation of the fine art scene influenced the fashion industry. The birthplace of both haute couture and the department store, Paris was unquestionably the capital of the fashion world at the turn of the twentieth century. “The Parisian Woman” section explores the sartorial mastery that captivated and inspired countless artists, artisans, and writers. Advertisements, fashion plates, paintings, costumes and accessories, offer a comprehensive look at the period’s fashion. They include an evening gown designed by Rue Royale couturier Ernest Raudnitz, a velvet cape from Au Bon Marché (the first modern department store), hats by well-known Parisian milliners, button boots, and fans.
The final portion of the exhibition, “Paris by Night,” turns its attention to new forms of leisure and spectacle and the city’s abundant and thriving nightlife. Cinema, the circus, theme parks, and sporting matches were new and popular attractions. Georges Méliès pioneered the industry with films like “A Trip to the Moon” (1902), the first science fiction film ever made, which is screened here. Cabarets, like the famous “Chat Noir” and “Le Moulin Rouge” were also attracting large audiences with their dance and music routines. More upper-class venues such as the Théâtre de l’Opéra and restaurants like those depicted in Henri Gervex’s painting of restaurant-goers exemplify the vast array of options.
Exhibition organized by the Petit Palais Museum of Fine Arts, with exceptional loans from the Musée Carnavalet – History of Paris and the Palais Galliera Museum of Fashion, Paris Musées
The Frist Art Museum acknowledges the support of the Friends of French Art, especially its Moulin Rouge members.
Platinum Sponsor: HCA Foundation on behalf of HCA Healthcare/TriStar Health
Partner Sponsor: Bank of America
Hospitality Sponsor: Union Station Hotel
The Frist Art Museum is supported in part by the Metro Nashville Arts Commission, the Tennessee Arts Commission, and the National Endowment for the Arts.
Ellen Jones Pryor
About the Frist Art Museum
Accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, the Frist Art Museum is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit art exhibition center dedicated to presenting and originating high-quality exhibitions with related educational programs and community outreach activities. Located at 919 Broadway in downtown Nashville, Tenn., the Frist Art Museum offers the finest visual art from local, regional, national, and international sources in exhibitions that inspire people through art to look at their world in new ways. The Frist Art Museum’s newly renovated Martin ArtQuest Gallery features interactive stations relating to Frist Art Museum exhibitions. Information on accessibility can be found at www.FristArtMuseum.org/accessibility. Gallery admission is free for visitors 18 and younger and for members; $12 for adults; $9 for seniors and college students with ID; and $7 for active military. College students are admitted free Thursday and Friday evenings (with the exception of Frist Fridays), 5:00–9:00 p.m. Groups of 10 or more can receive discounts with advance reservations by calling 615.744.3247. The galleries, café, and gift shop are open seven days a week: Mondays through Wednesdays, and Saturdays, 10:00 a.m.–5:30 p.m.; Thursdays and Fridays, 10:00 a.m.–9:00 p.m.; and Sundays, 1:00–5:30 p.m., with the café opening at noon. For additional information, call 615.244.3340 or visit www.FristArtMuseum.org.