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A French Dream


National Museum of China, Dongcheng District, Beijing
january 30 • april 30 2018

The Cnap and the Beaux-Arts de Paris present for the first time an exhibition at the National Museum of China in Beijing, on the initiative of the French Embassy in China.

Entitled "A French dream", this exhibition brings together around a hundred historical and modern works evoking the France of the School of Fine Arts, the revolution that followed the First World War in France, enabling visitors to immerse themselves in the academic vitality and creativity of the France of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

This exhibition will then be on show at Kunming Museum, in Yunnan province, from 8 June to 9 September 2018.
The exhibition will offer visitors the chance to discover masterpieces from the collections of the Cnap and the Beaux-Arts de Paris, produced by artists from France and elsewhere, including several Chinese artists who studied at the Beaux-Arts de Paris.

The collections of the two institutions enable you to follow the way the artists were trained before showing their work at the Salons, or having it purchased by the State. The works bear the signatures of great names such as Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, Camille Corot, Eugène Delacroix, William-Adolphe Bouguereau, Alexandre Cabanel, Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux, Chang Shuhong and Fang Junbi. Some artists received the highest distinctions of the time such as the Grand Prix de Rome, awarded to Jean-Alexandre Falguière, Jules-Eugène Lenepveu and André Devambez for sculpture and painting.

Works by François Rude, the creator of the bas-relief of La Marseillaise, on the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, are presented beside three oil paintings by Ingres, including the iconic Jupiter et Thétis (1811). This exhibition also casts light on another area of French culture through great literary figures such as Victor Hugo and Rabelais, portrayed in four works by Henri Gervex, Aimé-Jules Dalou, Ernest-Philippe Boetzel and Eugène Delacroix.

The works on show also constitute an overview of the fruits of the teaching of the Beaux-Arts de Paris. Some artists such as Achille-Etna Michallon, Edgard Maxence, Georges Rouault and Paul Landowski taught students from all over the world including many Chinese artists such as Hua Tianyou, Liu Kaiqu, Wang Linyi and Fang Junbi whose Joueuse de flute (The Flute Player) (1924), shown at the Salon, met with huge public success in China.

In their own way, the Salons and Universal Exhibitions in Paris played the same role as did the School, welcoming visitors and artists of all nationalities. They enabled various different artistic trends and movements such as Neoclassicism, Romanticism, Realism and Naturalism to spread internationally. Inspired by the Enlightenment, some French artists from the early nineteenth century returned to the artistic codes and figures of Greek and Roman Antiquity.

The diversity of works presented in the exhibition demonstrates the State’s efforts to record, from that time forward, the variety of artistic creation in France and abroad, from Classicism to Avant-garde. Under the entity of the Bureau des travaux d’art, whose successor today is the Cnap, it increasingly purchased works by Chinese artists established in France – a testimony to the State’s interest in their presence at the Beaux-Arts de Paris in the interwar period. Among them, Fang Junbi together with Chang Shuhong and his Malade fiévreuse (Feverishly sick) (1931) will be shown for the first time at the National Museum of China.

The exhibition is organised by the National Museum of China, the Centre national des arts plastiques, and the Beaux-arts de Paris, on the initiative of the French Embassy in China.

Following the first State visit of the President of the French Republic, Emmanuel Macron, to China, this exhibition, supported by the Jonathan K.S. Choi Foundation, stands out as one of the “great Franco-Chinese cultural projects” which the President has stated he hopes to see many more of.

National Museum of China
East Side, Tian'anmen Square, 16 Dongchang'an Jie
Dongcheng District, Beijing
Gallery S8

Dernière mise à jour le 06 Jul 2018
National Museum of China
East Side, Tian'anmen Square, 16 Dongchang'an Jie
Dongcheng District, Beijing