The first exhibition devoted solely to portraits of the Neo-Impressionist movement will open June 14, 2014, at the Indianapolis Museum of Art, 4000 Michigan Road. It is the only U.S. venue for the exhibition.
“Face to Face: The Neo-Impressionist Portrait, 1886-1904” will feature more than 30 paintings and 20 works on paper by artists including Paul Signac, Henri-Edmond Cross, Maximilien Luce, and Vincent van Gogh. “Face to Face” will be on view in the Allen Whitehill Clowes Gallery through Sept. 7, 2014.
Rooted in recent discoveries in optics and perception, Neo-Impressionism was developed in late 19th-century Paris by French painter Georges Seurat. While his use of brilliant color and pointillist brushwork is largely associated with landscapes, seascapes, and scenes of modern life, the approach also produced arresting portraits of unusual beauty and perception. “Face to Face” represents the first major museum exhibition to examine this significant facet of the Neo-Impressionist movement.
“Perhaps because Neo-Impressionism is so linked to the pursuit of natural light and brilliant color, the primary vehicles for analyzing the technique have been landscapes and other outdoor scenes,” said Ellen W. Lee, the Wood-Pulliam senior curator at the IMA and co-organizer of the exhibition. “This exhibition reveals the Neo-Impressionists’ ability to invest psychological intensity and vivid expression into that most natural of subjects — the human face.”
The exhibition features 15 painters from France, Belgium, and The Netherlands. The earliest followers of Seurat, artists such as Paul Signac, Lucien Pissarro, and Albert Dubois-Pillet, are represented. The exhibition also will introduce under-recognized figures such as Henri Delavallée and Achille Laugé to American audiences.
Highlights of the exhibition include:
• Albert Dubois-Pillet, Mlle. B.; a striking portrait of a seated woman, recognized through research for this exhibition as the earliest Neo-Impressionist portrait
• Vincent van Gogh, Self-Portrait, 1887; with its arresting contrast of complementary colors, this work is the best Neo-Impressionist example of the artist’s remarkable self-portraits.