French Painting in the Age of Madame de Pompadour

Volupte du Gout Voluptuous TasteWhile browsing the shelves of my favorite bookstore, I was so smitten by this book, titled La volupté du goût (“Voluptuous Taste”) by Philippe Le Leyzour and Penelope Hunter-Stiebel, that I purchased it on impulse, something I almost never do.

It explores the role played by Madame de Pompadour, Louis XV’s most influential mistress and a woman of great culture and intellect, as informal minister of the arts. The pictures are gorgeous and the text fascinating. Boucher, Chardin, Nattier, Van Loo, Fragonard, Hubert Robert, Vernet… I was swept off my feet.

A while later, when I came homeand to my senses, and plunged deeper into the book, I realized that this is in fact the catalog of a current exhibition at the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Tours. Now the neatthing is that I will spend the holidays with my family at the home ofmy aunt and uncle, who live in… Tours, in the beautiful Loire Valley. Needless to say, thisexhibition is on my must-see list, along of course with the nearby Château de Chenonceau.

And the other neat thing is that the exhibit will move afterwards to the Portland Art Museum, which co-curated the show. This means that not only some of my American friends will be able to see it as well, but also that the book should be translated into English shortly.

On a more general note, I discovered that both the Musée des Beaux-Arts of Tours and the Portland Art Museum belong to an association called FRAME (French Regional American Museum Exchange) which regroups French provincial museums and their American counterparts. This makes shows of this caliber possible outside the confines of Paris and provides them with an American audience. Nice…

Musée des Beaux-Arts of Tours, until January 12, 2009
Portland Art Museum, from February 7 through May 17, 2009

Boucher Confidences pastorales

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19 Comments to “French Painting in the Age of Madame de Pompadour”

  1. painting in Portland says:

    Marvelous.This means that not only some of my American friends will be able to see it as well, but also that the book should be translated into English shortly.

  2. Thank you for the blog and beautiful images.

  3. Catherine Delors says:

    This is indeed a lovely exhibition, Penny. A pity it didn’t stop on the East Coast…

  4. Penny says:

    Ma chere Catherine,
    if i thought your postings were inspiring, now that i actually have it (the catalog)in my hot little hands, they look so equisiste and yet playful that i want to see the real ones. merci beaucoup

  5. Catherine Delors says:

    Merci, Kenza!
    I agree: a beautiful exhibition, and a welcome break from the mega-blockbuster shows. I will post a review next week for readers who might see it in Portland. Your blog is beautiful, and I loved your Chenonceau post.

  6. Kenza says:

    Un petit bonjour de Tours,France!
    J’ai visité cette très belle exposition, et j’en garderai un merveilleux souvenir! Vous allez bientôt avoir la chance de la retrouver chez vous!!! J’en parle sur mon blog.
    Amicalement, Kenza

  7. Catherine Delors says:

    I just saw it, Boris, and it is beautiful! Stay tuned for a post next week.

  8. Boris says:

    I am looking forward to see this beauteful exhibit in Portland, OR.

    Boris, Seattle WA

  9. Catherine Delors says:

    You are doing great, ma Chere Penny, and I will certainly report on this exhibition. I know it has one beautiful portrait of an aging Madame de Pompadour by Drouais.

  10. Penny Klein says:

    Ma Cher Catherine(or is this too familar?), it is called French painting in the age of Madame de Pompadour, yet i would like to see a paiting of her if one exists. where can i find one?
    oh and i recommend the book, our Friend Ellen Moody told ECW about Voices of the Revolution. great pictures as well.


  11. Penny Klein says:

    Ma Cher Madame Delors,
    i also cannot get to Portland or Iowa for the historical fiction. I hope you will post on them though. i also hope that book becomes translated, yes i know that translations lose something but i would appreciate it more in my own language. as you see, i am trying to learn some basic French greetings. such a polite language.

    how am i doing?

  12. Catherine Delors says:

    Isn’t it, Felio? This is the way things happen in life (sometimes.)

  13. Felio Vasa says:

    This painting is gorgeous.
    Enjoy the show it will be wonderful! How funny an impulse buy would work out to your advantage.

  14. Catherine Delors says:

    De rien, chere Lauren!

  15. Lauren says:

    Merci beaucoup, chère Catherine!

  16. Catherine Delors says:

    Lauren – If you can’t come to Portland in 09, I will post a detailed report on this show after I see it at the end of the year (which is almost on us already.)

  17. Catherine Delors says:

    You just did, Penny, you posted your first comment here! Delighted to find you here, and to hear you enjoy the paintings so much. So do I…

  18. Penny Klein says:

    Hi Catherine,
    thanks for the lovely photos and artworks. I keep coming back to the site to look and read. however i can’t find the comments section
    au revoir

  19. Lauren says:

    Très beaux! Now if only some of these French art exhibitions would tour to Australia! :(

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