Anyone who has seen Woody Allen's latest film, Midnight in Paris, will be familiar with La Belle Époque (The Beautiful Era). From the late Nineteenth Century to 1914 it was a time of great social, technological, architectural and artistic change in Europe. This optimistic period, which was echoed somewhat in the USA with The Gilded Age, was named retrospectively, as a contrast to the horrors that followed it during the First World War and its aftermath.
The Musée d'Orsay, housed in the former Orsay Railway Station, hosts around 3 million visitors a year. This exhibition showcases works from amongst the 10,000 drawings of its Graphic Arts Collection and includes works from some of the most influential and popular French artists of the period. Famous French Impressionists Edgar Degas, Auguste Renoir, Édouard Manet and Camille Pissarro are all featured, along with the foremost women painters of the day, Frenchwoman Berthe Morisot and American Mary Cassatt.
These artists had not just the common thread of their work and artistic values to bind them, they lived and played together too. This exhibition, largely because it concentrates on drawings and sketches, rather than their grander works, provides an intimate portrait of the people and times, and especially the changing roles of women. There are portraits, nudes and drawings of women as performers, mothers, workers, and in their domestic lives.
Exhibition Details Dates: 24 March to 24 June 2012 Hours: Weekdays 10am to 5pm, Weekends and Public Holidays: 9am to 5pm. Prices: Adults $18, Concession $15, Members $14, Secondary Student $9, Children 12 years and under Free, Family $45, Season tickets also available Tickets: available in advance from qtix here or phone 136 246. Tickets will also be available at the gallery.
Isabelle Julia, Curator in Charge, Department of Graphic Arts, Musée d'Orsay and Queensland Art Gallery staff will deliver a number of tours, talks and lectures over the weekend of 24 and 25 March. These are free for exhibition ticket holders.
Music In The Gallery Free live classical music from the times will be performed in the Watermall at 2.30 pm on Sundays 1 April and 23 May. No exhibition ticket required.
Curators' Perspectives Free talks for exhibition ticket holders, by curatorial staff in the exhibition space. Thursday 19 April 1pm: Examines the women artists represented in the exhibition. Wednesday 30 May 1pm: Examines the social change posed in the works.
Painting Modern Life: Illustrated Talks Free talks in the QAG Lecture Theatre (no exhibition ticket required). Saturday 5 May 1pm: Paris: The Modern City - a talk about Paris and the artists of the period.
Saturday 26 May 1pm: Building Paris - a talk about the architecture of Paris.
Buildings from La Belle Époque in the Imperial District of Metz, France. Image fro en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Avenue_foch_quartier_imperial_Metz.jpg