Genius and Grace presents exemplary drawings by 27 accomplished artists who influenced the practices of art and draftsmanship for much of the eighteenth century. Their vision, combined with their enormous technical skill, ensured the full realization of the rococo—the bold, graceful, and fluid manner so characteristic of French art of the first half of the eighteenth century. The brilliant career of François Boucher, the best-known artist of his generation, is represented in the show by 19 drawings. Other artists featured in the exhibition include Jean-Antoine Watteau, Jean-Baptiste Oudry, Charles-Joseph Natoire, Charles-Antoine Coypel, and Carle Vanloo.
A wide variety of drawings is on display, from quick sketches to compositional studies, in a stunning range of media including red chalk, pen and ink, gouache, and pastel.
The Ackland Art Museum is the second of only two venues in the United States to present Genius and Grace, and the exhibition’s only venue in the Southeast. Drawn from the Horvitz Collection in Boston, the preeminent private collection of early French art in the United States, the show was on view at the Cincinnati Art Museum in the spring of 2014.
Adjacent to the exhibition, the Ackland presents an Atelier du Dessin | Drawing Studio, inviting visitors to try a wide variety of drawing tools, from chalk and pencil to an Etch-a-Sketch and iPad apps.
A curated selection of French Baroque music—compositions from the musical generation of 1700—may be heard in the Genius and Grace galleries.
Interpretative materials for adults and children are available in the galleries and at the front desk. A fully illustrated catalogue is available from the Ackland Museum Store.
Genius and Grace is drawn from the collection of Carol and Jeffrey Horvitz, the premier private collectors of French art in the United States. The Ackland’s presentation of the exhibition and its accompanying programs have been made possible in part by the generosity of Thomas S. Kenan III, Josephine Ward Patton, Joan C. Huntley, Leena and Sheldon Peck, Ruby Lerner, Richard D. Pardue, and John T. Rowe Jr. (by anonymous memorial gift). Additional support has been provided by PNC, Rivers Agency, Zog’s Art Bar, and WUNC 91.5 – North Carolina Public Radio.
Left: François Boucher, French, 1703-1770: Venus Presenting Aeneas to Jupiter and Juno, 1747; black chalk, pen with brown ink, brush with brown wash and touches of white gouache, on tan antique laid paper. 21.4 x 30.5 cm. The Horvitz Collection, Boston.
Right: François Boucher, Recumbent Female Nude (detail), circa 1742-43; red, white, and black chalk on cream antique laid paper, 26 x 35.2 cm. The Horvitz Collection, Boston.