The Birmingham Museum of Art is proud to host the first Eugène Delacroix (1798–1863) exhibition in the United States in more than a decade. Delacroix and the Matter of Finish arrives in February and features the dramatic work of the leader of the French Romantic Movement, who was often heralded as “the father of impressionism.” Comprised of 25 paintings and 18 works on paper, the exhibition will highlight Delacroix’s unparalleled coloristic surface effects, his famously troubled collaboration with his studio assistants, and his preoccupation with the fate of civilizations. Filled with high drama, a fiery color palette, and expressive brushstrokes, Delacroix’s style set the precedent for later artists like Renoir, Seurat, and Cézanne. The BMA is one of only two venues to host Delacroix and the Matter of Finish, which represents works of collections from around the world, including Paris, Switzerland, Madrid, and New York.
Who is Delacroix?
Perhaps you’ve heard his name (even if you are unsure how to pronounce it). Now, let us properly introduce you to one of the most important and influential artists of the 19th century.
Eugène Delacroix (1798–1863)
A French painter and lithographer who shifted the course of art away from the restrained classicism of the 18th century, towards a new kind of painting known as Romanticism.
“Leader of Romanticism”
“Father of Impressionism”
A 19th-century movement in the arts that prized human feelings, imagination, and expression.
What makes a Delacroix painting?
· Rich and expressive use of fiery colors to achieve energy and freshness
· Fluid, sweeping brushstrokes to convey movement and sensation
· Focus on intense emotion rather than accuracy and details
· Subject matter depicts dramatic scenes from literature, ancient history, and contemporary events
…and the Matter of Finish?
It was in fact the lack of finish that became the hallmark of Delacroix’s work—a technique intended to appeal to the viewer’s imagination.
Mark your calendar now, and check back soon for more information, related programming, and special member perks!
Additional support provided by Vulcan Materials Company Foundation, The Daniel Foundation of Alabama, The Robert R. Meyer Foundation, Philippa and Frank Bainbridge, Patrick Cather, Lisa and Mike DeVivo, Maye and Bernard Frei, Mrs. Charles W. Ireland, Margaret and James Livingston, Terry K. Simmons, Mr. and Mrs. Lee Styslinger, Jr. and the City of Birmingham. This exhibition has been organized by the Santa Barbara Museum of Art.
In-kind support provided by Burgess Commercial Interiors and Birmingham Soho and Retro, Homewood.