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Archive for March 26th, 2013

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It was recently brought to our attention that the Metropolitan Museum of Art is currently hosting an exhibit called Impressionism, Fashion and Modernity which has suddenly sky-rocked to the top of our “must see” list.

[via metmuseum.org]
Impressionism, Fashion, and Modernity presents a revealing look at the role of fashion in the works of the Impressionists and their contemporaries. Some eighty major figure paintings, seen in concert with period costumes, accessories, fashion plates, photographs, and popular prints, highlight the vital relationship between fashion and art during the pivotal years, from the mid-1860s to the mid-1880s, when Paris emerged as the style capital of the world. With the rise of the department store, the advent of ready-made wear, and the proliferation of fashion magazines, those at the forefront of the avant-garde—from Manet, Monet, and Renoir to Baudelaire, Mallarmé, and Zola—turned a fresh eye to contemporary dress, embracing la mode as the harbinger of la modernité. The novelty, vibrancy, and fleeting allure of the latest trends in fashion proved seductive for a generation of artists and writers who sought to give expression to the pulse of modern life in all its nuanced richness. Without rivaling the meticulous detail of society portraitists such as James Tissot or Alfred Stevens or the graphic flair of fashion plates, the Impressionists nonetheless engaged similar strategies in the making (and in the marketing) of their pictures of stylish men and women that sought to reflect the spirit of their age.

The collection is comprised of eight separate galleries all with different motifs. Obviously the one which most piques our interest here at Buffalo Dandy is Gallery Six entitled Frocks Coats and Fashion: The Urban Male. 

While dress codes for women dictated a full panoply of outfits, the options for men in the late nineteenth century were simple, limited, and for both wearer and artist not terribly inspiring. Artists met the challenge of adding distinction to their depictions of the modern man with inventive cropping or poses and the novel use of accessories (typified by an assortment of period headwear and canes on view).

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