With a rare combination of paintings, sculpture, furniture, silver, musical instruments, clocks, books, jewelry and fashion, this major exhibit at the Getty Museum evokes the elegant, prosperous world of 18th-century Paris. Inspired by the Getty’s extensive French decorative arts collection and strong holdings of French illustrated books, the exhibit brings together approximately 160 objects, roughly half of which are on loan from museums and private collections throughout the world.
It focuses on the activities that took place inside a Parisian townhouse over the course of a typical day—dressing, letter-writing, dining, scientific pursuits, games, evening entertainments and religious devotions. Showcasing the virtuosity of the period’s great artists and craftsmen, the exhibit gives a striking glimpse into the everyday life of the wealthy Parisian, at a time when the lifestyle of the French upper echelon had a strong influence on European culture. Highlights include graceful writing tables, a harpsichord and music stand, marquetry cabinet, porcelain boxes, embroidered satin bed hangings, a silver table centerpiece, clothing, and paintings depicting daily activities, including several by François Boucher.
The exhibit is accompanied by a series of related events—lectures, films, an artist-at-work demonstration, study courses including a culinary workshop, and a performance by the Philharmonia Baroque Chamber Players.
April 26-August 7, 2011. The exhibit then moves to the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, Sept 18-Dec 10.
Getty Center: Museum Exhibitions Pavilion, Getty Center Drive, Los Angeles, CA. Free admission. Parking $15; free after 5 pm. (310) 440-7300. Tue-Fri and Sun 10 am-5:30 pm. Sat 10 am-9 pm. Closed Monday and major holidays. website