"Impressionism, Fashion and Modernity" at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

I love visiting museums at night...whenever we travel, I always check to see when each museum is open late and try to plan to visit on one of those nights. One of my favorite travel memories is of an evening in Paris when we felt as if we literally had the Louvre all to ourselves it was so quiet.
This past Friday night my husband and I went to see the exhibit "Impressionism, Fashion and Modernity" at the Metropolitan Museum of Art that everyone seems to be talking about. It did not disappoint.  The exhibition is jointly organized by the the Met, the Musee D'Orsay and the Art Institute of Chicago - with these three great museums coordinating their efforts, it isn't a surprise that it is an outstanding exhibit.
"The latest fashion . . . is absolutely necessary for a painting. It's what matters most."
—Édouard Manet, 1881
The world of fashion and the art world changed simultaneously in a brief period of time from the 1860's to the 1880's.  Longstanding conventions in both fields were being thrown by  the wayside and new attitudes were adopted almost overnight. The new fashions and attitudes were represented heavily in works by the artists of the day such as Manet, Monet, Renoir, Degas and even the more conventional artist of the time, Tissot. This exhibit chronicles many of these works alongside examples of the fashions similar to those portrayed in the paintings.
Edouard Manet Repose, RISD Museum
Auguste Renoir, The Swing, Musee D'Orsay
Gustave Caillebotte, At The Cafe, Musee D'Orsay
A few of my personal favorites were Monet's unfinished yet monumental Luncheon on the Grass, being exhibited in the United States for the first time, Monet's Women in the Garden, Manet's Repose, Renoir's The Swing  and Caillebotte's At The Cafe. The fashions juxtaposed amongst the paintings were fascinating - I particularly enjoyed seeing the detailed workmanship on the various dresses, particularly the ones by the house of Worth.
"Impressionism, Fashion and Modernity" will be continuing at the Met until May 27th. After that, it will be at the Art Institute of Chicago from June 26 through September 22, 2013. This is a "must see" if you are going to be in New York or Chicago while it is showing.
The Met is open until 9:00 pm on Friday and Saturday evenings, and it is the perfect time to visit the museum, when it is much less crowded than weekend days. We either like to eat at one of the museum restaurants or go out for dinner in the city once the museum closes. There is also live music and cocktails at the Great Hall Balcony Bar on the evenings the museum is open late. For more on the Metropolitan Museum of Art, check out this post.