A Paris art exhibit renames paintings to put the focus on their black subjects 

With ‘The Black Model,’ the Musée d’Orsay makes a political statement.

 At the Louvre, the striking painting is identified simply as “Portrait of a black woman.”

The work is widely considered allegorical — the subject’s bare breast and classical dress, in the colors of the French flag, alluding to the French Republic and the figure of Liberty. The painting was first exhibited at the Paris Salon of 1800, so artist Marie-Guillemine Benoist could have been referring to the just-finished French Revolution or Napoleon Bonaparte’s moves to reinstate slavery — or both.

But the painting hangs under a new title in a groundbreaking show at the Musée d’Orsay directly across the Seine River: “Portrait of Madeleine.” For the first time since the early 19th century, Benoist’s sitter has her own story. As viewers learn, the woman gazing back at them was an emancipated slave from Guadeloupe and a domestic servant who worked in the home of the artist’s brother-in-law.

This is the project of “The Black Model: From Géricault to Matisse,” a major exhibit that opened at the Orsay on Tuesday. The show attempts to restore the identities and perspectives of black figures who were depicted on canvas but largely written out of history.

The exhibit expands on an earlier version that debuted at Columbia University’s Wallach Art Gallery last fall, inspired by the research of American art historian Denise Murrell. But it lands with different impact in France, where the state is officially blind to race, both as statistical category and as lived experience.

“We are tacking political questions, social questions,” said Musée d’Orsay director Laurence des Cars. “We are tackling a very sensitive subject.” [ . . . ]

Continue at WASHINGTON POST: A Paris art exhibit renames paintings to put the focus on their black subjects – The Washington Post

Amadeo Modigliani lived hard, died young, and is on display in London 

The Jewish-Italian artist womanized, drank, and did drugs — and in his 35 years created an impressive oeuvre, now showing in a blockbuster exhibit at Tate Modern

Despite this, Modigliani’s output was considerable and his work is currently the subject of a blockbuster exhibition at Tate Modern, in London.

His major retrospective is the most comprehensive Modigliani exhibition ever held in the United Kingdom. With over 100 works, it brings together a range of his portraits, landscapes, sculptures and 12 of his iconic, languorous, female nudes, some of which have never been shown in the UK before.

These seductive figures, such as “Reclining Nude on a White Cushion” (1917), “Female Nude” (1916) and “Seated Nude” (1916) constitute many of his best-known works today. But in the early 20th century, the provocative paintings proved controversial, shocking the French establishment.

In 1917, they were included in Modigliani’s only solo exhibition in his lifetime, but were subject to censorship on grounds of indecency: A police commissioner objected to Modigliani’s depiction of pubic hair, finding it offensive [ . . . ]

Read full story at THE TIMES OF ISRAEL: Amadeo Modigliani lived hard, died young, and is on display in London | The Times of Israel

“Jane and Serge: family album”: the mythical photos of Birkin and Gainsbourg by Andrew Birkin

“Jane and Serge: family album”: the few words that define the new exhibition of the Museum of Fine Arts in Calais perfectly summarize the relationship of the iconic couple. A man, a woman, a family in the broadest sense, the 1960s, freedom and love, all told in about sixty photos captured by Andrew Birkin, Jane’s brother.

More story and video at Source: “Jane et Serge : album de famille” : les photos mythiques de Birkin et Gainsbourg par Andrew Birkin