The trip to Paris, Lille and Hamburg (June 3-12) was extraordinarily helpful in shaping my thinking not only about my chapter on depictions of fashionable women on horseback in the 19th century, but also about the whole book manuscript.
In Tourcoing (a suburb of Lille), I had a special appointment before the museum opened to examine three of the works by Carolus-Duran in the collection of MUba Eugène Leroy. They had pulled them from storage especially for my visit (no small task as Au bord de la mer is more than 11 feet tall) and I was able to study and photograph them for several hours. I had a series of invaluable conversations about the works with the chief curator and director of the museum, Evelyne-Dorothée Allemand. Mme Allemand alerted me to an exhibition and publication that I was not previously aware of and shared the works’ curatorial files with me as well, which I spent several hours studying.
In Hamburg, I had the opportunity to examine Renoir’s Morning Ride (another monumental work) closely and was thrilled to also be able to spend time in their special exhibition (“Manet–Sehen: Der Blick der Moderne”), which unexpectedly contained two other paintings that are central to my book project.
Time in Paris afforded me the opportunity to study and photograph more than 300 historic garments on special exhibition at Les Arts décoratifs (“Fashion Forward, Trois siècles de mode (1715-2015)”) and examine nearly 100 more at the Palais Galliera (“Anatomy of a Collection”). Those exhibitions as well as my visits to the Musée d’Orsay and Louvre will benefit not only my book project, but also enrich my teaching here at FIT.