In March, Turn-of-the-Century Paris is Coming to Cincinnati Art Museum


Paris is coming to Cincinnati in spring in all its elegant, shimmering wonder.  The exhibit — dubbed Paris 1900: City of Entertainment — will explore the la Ville Lumière (The City of Light) as it encounters the turn of the 20th century. It will open at the Cincinnati Art Museum March 1 and run through May 12.

Organized by the Petit Palais Museum of Fine Arts — with loans from other museums in Paris — more than 200 artworks will be featured that were made during this time of great transition. The exhibit also harkens back the Paris Exposition Universelle, which drew 51 million visitors, according to a press release. Held April 14-Nov. 12 in 1900, at the time it celebrated the city's past achievements as it ushered in a new century.

The time period Paris 1900 covers, known as Belle Époque (or “Beautiful Era”), flourished in Paris from 1871-1914 and was marked by the end of the Franco-Prussian War and the start of World War 1. According to a release, the period is known for “fantasy, excess and boundless faith in progress through technology and design.”

Visitors to the exhibit can view paintings and prints by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Camille Pissarro and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec alongside sculptures by Auguste Rodin, Antoine Bourdelle and Camille Claudel.  The life of Sarah Bernhardt — one of the most famous actresses of her time, as well as a sculptor — will also be explored. A “rare suite” of Art Nouveau furniture, pottery and glass will also be on display.

But fine art often entangled itself in the era’s popular culture, shown in Paris 1900 through images of emerging cabarets (like the Moulin Rouge), bohemian cafes and clips from early films, the latter of which was just beginning to burgeon as a form of entertainment.

Peter Jonathan Bell, CAM’s associate curator of European Paintings, Sculpture and Drawings, says in a release that the museum is "thrilled to bring to Cincinnati a truly immersive look at turn-of-the-century Paris." Before Paris 1900, CAM visitors can explore another slice of history via Art Academy of Cincinnati a 150: A Celebration in Drawings and Prints, which will run from Feb. 1-April 28.

Paris 1900 will be housed in the Western and Southern galleries and is free to members. Non-members can snag tickets here or at the front desk.