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Passport to Paris serves up French art with a side of history at the Denver Art Museum

Claude Monet, "Road in the Wheatfields at Pourville," 1882. Oil on canvas; 23 x 30-3/4 in. Lent by Frederic C. Hamilton.
Claude Monet, "Road in the Wheatfields at Pourville," 1882. Oil on canvas; 23 x 30-3/4 in. Lent by Frederic C. Hamilton.

Don't expect a grand pastiche of Impressionists when you walk through the three exhibits that comprise Passport to Paris -- while the Denver Art Museum's fall blockbuster does have its share of Impressionist works, that's only part of the exhibition suite's story, which deftly provides the narrative of three centuries of French art in a historical panorama.

See also: Passport to Paris, Denver Art Museum

François Boucher, "The Egg Seller," Court to Cafe, Denver Art Museum.
François Boucher, "The Egg Seller," Court to Cafe, Denver Art Museum.

The central exhibit, Court to Café: Three Centuries of French Masterworks from the Wadsworth Atheneum, explores how art morphed through that tumultuous passage through changes in politics and society, from the powdered-wig formalism of the court to the revolution and beyond.

Eugène Delacroix, "Bathers," 1854, Court to Cafe, Denver Art Museum.
Eugène Delacroix, "Bathers," 1854, Court to Cafe, Denver Art Museum.

"Art responds and reacts to the times," explains Angelica Daneo, DAM associate curator of painting and sculpture. "Court to Café follows the major shifts, and shows how art mirrors what is happening at the time it's being made." Thus, the exhibit takes viewers through time, juxtaposing artworks with period furnishings and a soundscape of analogous musical compositions.

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, "Jane Avril Leaving the Moulin Rouge," 1892. Essence on board; 33-3/4 x 27-1/2 in. Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art; Bequest of George Gay.
Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, "Jane Avril Leaving the Moulin Rouge," 1892. Essence on board; 33-3/4 x 27-1/2 in. Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art; Bequest of George Gay.
Odilon Redon, "Bouquet of Flowers in a Green Vase, Court to Cafe, Denver Art Museum.
Odilon Redon, "Bouquet of Flowers in a Green Vase, Court to Cafe, Denver Art Museum.
Paul Cézanne, "House in the Country," about 1877-79. Oil on canvas; 23-1/2 x 28-7/8 in. Wadsworth Atheneum; Anonymous gift.
Paul Cézanne, "House in the Country," about 1877-79. Oil on canvas; 23-1/2 x 28-7/8 in. Wadsworth Atheneum; Anonymous gift.

Continue reading for more photos from Passport to Paris.

 

Honoré Daumier, "A Lawyer Pleading, His Arms Crossed," 1864, Drawing Room, Denver Art Museum
Honoré Daumier, "A Lawyer Pleading, His Arms Crossed," 1864, Drawing Room, Denver Art Museum

The second installation, Drawing Room: An Intimate Look at French Drawings from the Esmond Bradley Martin Collection, is an about-face from the broad swatch of Court to Café. Displayed in a darkened room, the show invites people to look closely and experience the directness of drawing -- as Daneo says, to "lose themselves in the art."

Pierre Andrieu, "Reclining Lion," about 1865. Graphite on heavy buff wove paper; 8 x 9-1/2 in. Lent by Dr. Esmond Bradley Martin.
Pierre Andrieu, "Reclining Lion," about 1865. Graphite on heavy buff wove paper; 8 x 9-1/2 in. Lent by Dr. Esmond Bradley Martin.
Drawing by Paul Gauguin, Drawing Room, Denver Art Museum.
Drawing by Paul Gauguin, Drawing Room, Denver Art Museum.
Claude Monet, "The Seine Estuary," about 1864-70. Pastel on brown wove paper affixed to buff paper, affixed to canvas; 9-5/16 x 14-1/4 in. Lent by Dr. Esmond Bradley Martin.
Claude Monet, "The Seine Estuary," about 1864-70. Pastel on brown wove paper affixed to buff paper, affixed to canvas; 9-5/16 x 14-1/4 in. Lent by Dr. Esmond Bradley Martin.

Continue reading for more photos from Passport to Paris.

 

Claude Monet, "The Seine Near Giverny," 1885. Oil on canvas; 25-3/4 x 36-1/4 in. Lent by Frederic C. Hamilton.
Claude Monet, "The Seine Near Giverny," 1885. Oil on canvas; 25-3/4 x 36-1/4 in. Lent by Frederic C. Hamilton.

Lastly, Nature as Muse: Impressionist Landscapes from the Frederic C. Hamilton Collection and the Denver Art Museum, offers a fair dose of beloved impressionist painters, including a stunning room of atmospheric Monet works, mostly culled from Frederic Hamilton's private collection. In spite of his philanthropic gifts to the museum, "Hamilton rarely loans from his own collection," notes Museum director Christoph Heinrich, making the exhibit an infrequent chance to see these works.

Camille Pissarro, "Peasants Harvesting Hay," Nature as Muse, Denver Art Museum.
Camille Pissarro, "Peasants Harvesting Hay," Nature as Muse, Denver Art Museum.
Claude Monet, "Waterloo Bridge, Sunlight Effect," Nature as Muse, Denver Art Museum.
Claude Monet, "Waterloo Bridge, Sunlight Effect," Nature as Muse, Denver Art Museum.

Passport to Paris opens Sunday, October 27, and remains on view at the DAM through February 9, 2014; admission to the timed, ticketed exhibition ranges from $5 to $22 (children ages 5 and under admitted free). Information and reservations are available online or by calling 720-913-0130.

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