The Impressionism, Fashion, and Modernity exhibit seen recently at the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and the Art Institute of Chicago was a groundbreaking display of late 19th century paintings paired with clothing and accessories of the time. It was not simply a single exhibit that toured to three locations, but an exciting partnership of some of the greatest scholars on the topic from around the world. Conceptually dreamt up by Gloria Groom, the David and Mary Winton Green Curator in the Department of Medieval through Modern European Painting and Sculpture at the Art Institute of Chicago (who has since been named the museum’s first senior curator). Groom brought together curators from Paris and New York to brainstorm and build this wonderful exhibition. Each museum that hosted it, then, worked with their own collection of items on the topic, adding to it a unique mix of items based on partnerships they were able to arrange with other museums. As a result, each of the three museums displayed variations of the same exhibit. I had the wonderful opportunity to hear Gloria Groom speak and view the AIC’s installation in person while visiting Chicago.
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