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Impressionism, Fashion, and Modernity

by habituallychic

03 . 27 . 13
When I read one reviewer of the new Impressionism, Fashion, and Modernity exhibition at The Metropolitan Museum of Art describe the Impressionist artists as the “street style photographers of the past”, I thought Monet and Manet would roll over in their graves. But once you see the exhibition in person, you realize that the Impressionists were truly capturing the fashions of their day.  The most amazing part of the show is that the Met has some of the actual dresses on display next to the paintings. It’s also not just for the ladies.  One whole gallery is dedicated to the men who only had to change their clothes twice a day unlike the women who changed for almost every activity. 
I visited this exhibition on a very busy Saturday where it was a bit difficult to see everything so I was grateful to be invited back for a semi-private tour on a Monday were I was allowed to take photographs to share with you.  Impressionism, Fashion, and Modernity runs though May 27, 2013. 

“The latest fashion . . . is absolutely necessary for a painting. It’s what matters most.”
— Édouard Manet, 1881

Jean-Frédéric Bazille (French, 1841–1870) 
Family Reunion, 1867

Claude Monet (French, 1840–1926) 
Luncheon on the Grass (left panel), 1865–66 

Claude Monet (French, 1840–1926) 
Luncheon on the Grass (central panel), 1865–66 

Day Dress 
American, 1862–64 
White cotton piqué with black soutache 

Albert Bartholomé (French, 1848–1928) 
In the Conservatory (Madame Bartholomé), ca. 1881 
Summer Day Dress Worn by Madame Bartholomé in the Painting In the Conservatory 
French, 1880 
White cotton printed with purple dots and stripes 

Gustave Caillebotte (French, 1848–1894) 
At the Café, 1880 

Could you imagine having to wear this today?!

Gustave Caillebotte (French, 1848–1894) 
Paris Street; Rainy Day, 1877 

This guy kept getting ahead of me and invaded all my shots but here he makes a great contrast to show how differently men dress today. 

This was my favorite painting. You can just imagine the woman in on the left in the back is gossiping about someone to the gentleman leaning in. 

All photos by Heather Clawson for Habitually Chic

Comments Closed

  1. JeanneW March 26, 2013 | 4:27 pm

    Love this post!! So unique and romantically beautiful. I can’t imagine not only having to wear but to *wash* those amazing dresses. The streets were so dirty back then with horses and such. Thank you for sharing this amazing exhibit.

  2. always chic March 26, 2013 | 4:35 pm

    Thank you Heather for the beautiful visual espcape!
    Loved it.

  3. nora March 26, 2013 | 4:57 pm

    Just exquisite. Thank you, Heather. a lovely interlude on a blustery day.

  4. Karen Albert March 27, 2013 | 2:12 am

    Heather, so many timeless treasures! What a treat to tour this exhibit.
    Art by Karena

  5. MJH Design Arts March 27, 2013 | 11:43 am

    Your photography is perfection. Right now I’m on sensory overload…will revisit this post to soak it all in. Thank you for including the framing–The Impressionists are my favorite painters–moments in time captured forever.
    Thank you.

  6. texaztaste March 27, 2013 | 1:50 pm

    Wonderful! I will plan on taking the kids when we are in NYC in May.

  7. Wendy Shou March 28, 2013 | 6:01 pm

    Thanks for the lovely post. I was in Art institute of Chicago over the weekend and wondering where is the ‘Paris street, rainy day’. The exhibition is coming to Chicago this summer. Definitely will check it out.

  8. Helen James March 29, 2013 | 12:12 pm

    This makes me miss New York

  9. Lara April 8, 2013 | 9:45 pm

    thanks so much for posting. my mom and i are going to be in NYC in a week and this will be a great addition to our plans!