The final “American Encounters” collaboration of the Musee du Louvre, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, the High Museum of Art in Atlanta and the Terra Foundation for American Art comes to Arkansas next year when “The Simple Pleasures of Still Life” opens May 16 at CBM in Bentonville. Its first showing is Feb. 5-April 27 at the Louvre.
Included in the exhibition are 10 masterworks that, according to Crystal Bridges, “speak to the diversity of the still-life genre in the U.S.” They include works by De Scott Evans, Martin Johnson Heade, Joseph Biays Ord, William Sydney Mount, Raphaelle Peale, John Haberle, William Michael Harnett, George Cope, John-Baptiste-Siméon Chardin and Abraham Mignon.
Crystal Bridges’ contributions to the show include Peale’s “Corn and Cantaloupe” (ca. 1813), Haberle’s “Small Change” (1887), and Evans’ “Daisies” (ca. 1885). From the museum:
Peale is considered one of America’s first painters of still lifes. He appropriated the traditional European format small tabletop still life and adapted it to highlight characteristically American products such as corn, yams, and canteloupe. Haberle’s illusionistic money painting addresses controversial monetary politics and historic events of the time. Evans’s Daisies continues the tradition of Dutch vanitas still lifes such as Jan II de Heem’s Vanitas with a Bouquet of Flowers and Pipe, 1685, also included in the exhibition. However, instead of exotic flowers, Evans’s humble American bouquet comprises common, uncultivated flowers and celebrates the beauty of the native plants. Together, these works provide a focused examination of the development of a distinctly American voice within the still-life tradition.
A MutualArt.com piece quotes Louvre curator Guillaume Faroult as saying the collaboration “over the past four years has allowed for unprecedented opportunities for scholarship, engagement and creative exchange. Collectively, we have been able to provide a much richer, holistic narrative of the development of American art than any of the institutions could have presented alone.”
The Louvre’s contributions to the exhibition include Chardin’s “Pipes and Drinking Pitcher” (1737) and Mignon’s “Flowers in a Crystal Vase Standing on a Stone Pedestal, with a Dragonfly.” From the Terra Foundation: Mount’s “Apples on a Tin Cup” (1864) and “Still Life with Apple Blossoms in a Nautilus Shell” (1870). From the High: Harnett’s “Still Life with Bust of Dante” (1883), Ord’s “Still Life with Shells” (c. 1840), Cope’s “A Pair of Spectacles” (1897) and Harnett’s “Still Life with Bust of Dante” (1883).
Previous “American Encounters” collaborative shows include “Anglo-American Portraiture in an Era of Revolution” (2014-15); “Genre Painting and Everyday Life” (2013-14); and “New Frontier: Thomas Cole and the Birth of Landscape Painting in America” (2012-13).