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Exhibition of French still lifes opens Saturday, Jan. 18, 2020, at the Toledo Museum of Art

One Each, Toledo Museum of Art, Still Life
Camille Pissarro (French, 1830–1903), Still Life. Oil on canvas, 1867. Toledo Museum of Art, Purchased with funds from the Libbey Endowment, Gift of Edward Drummond Libbey, 1949.6

ONE EACH: Still Lifes by Pissarro, Cézanne, Manet & Friends opens Saturday, Jan. 18 at the Toledo Museum of Art (TMA). Organized in partnership with the Cincinnati Art Museum, the exhibition promises to be a focused but rewarding experience of a selection of richly evocative still lifes painted by French artists in the 1860s.

ONE EACH: Still Lifes by Pissarro, Cézanne, Manet & Friends will be on view in Gallery 18 at TMA from Jan. 18 to April 12, 2020. It will then travel to Cincinnati, where it can be seen from May 15 to Aug. 9, 2020.

The exhibition is curated by TMA’s Lawrence W. Nichols, the William Hutton senior curator, European & American painting and sculpture before 1900, and Peter Jonathan Bell, Cincinnati’s associate curator of European paintings, sculpture and drawings.

Coinciding with the exhibition opening, Nichols will give a free lecture Saturday, Jan. 18 at 2 p.m. in the Little Theater. During this curator talk, titled The Oxymoronic Genre – Still Life Painting, Nichols will explore this beguiling and deceptively complex art form.

ONE EACH invites a dialogue with the past, exploring the impact that the still lifes of the 1860s had on art movements in the 20th century, including, and perhaps most importantly, Cubism.  

“With its solemnity as well as its spontaneity, Camille Pissarro’s Still Life of 1867 is one of the most rewarding and mesmerizing compositions in the collection of the Toledo Museum of Art,” Nichols said. “This exhibition will place this masterpiece within the context of the important developments in French still life paintings in this vital decade.”

Also included are sterling examples from the hand of Édouard Manet, regarded as the father of modern painting, and Paul Cézanne, considered to have been the driving precursor of Cubism, the early 20th century’s major art movement. In addition, superb paintings by Claude Monet, Henri Fantin-Latour and Gustave Courbet will be on view.

“Just as these French painters have inspired countless other artists, this exhibition will nurture and provoke the artistic spirit in our community,” Nichols said. “The artists’ presentation of the tangible, experiential world will resonate with visitors.”

While ONE EACH seeks to connect this decade of paintings with both past and future, the goal is similar to the object of still life paintings—visual splendor.

“The painters were fully aware of the tradition of still life representations dating back centuries,” Nichols said. “The desire and motivation to realistically represent things is constant.”

ONE EACH: Still Lifes by Pissarro, Cézanne, Manet & Friends is sponsored by 2020 Exhibition Program Sponsor ProMedica with additional support from the Ohio Arts Council and Galerie Coatalem, Paris. Admission to the exhibition is free.

Related Programs

FREE Curator Talk: Larry Nichols, “The Oxymoronic Genre - Still Life Painting"

Saturday, Jan. 18: 2 p.m., Little Theater

Fish flap and flowers flutter, yet such images are curiously labeled “Still Lifes”. On the occasion of the opening of the Museum’s focus exhibition, ONE EACH: Still Lifes by Pissarro, Cézanne, Manet & Friends, join Lawrence W. Nichols, William Hutton Senior Curator, European and American Painting and Sculpture before 1900, for an exploration of this beguiling and deceptively complex subject matter.


FREE Drawing in the Galleries

Select Saturdays in January, February, and March: 2 p.m., Libbey Court

View mesmerizing compositions in the special exhibition, ONE EACH: Still Lifes by Pissarro, Cézanne, Manet & Friends, then spend time close-looking and sketching your own still life. Drawing in the Galleries is facilitated by an art instructor, and all supplies are provided. No experience or registration necessary.

Jan. 25, Feb. 8, Feb. 22, March 7, and March 21


FREE Masters Series: Ivan Gaskell, “Still Life, Trompe l’oeil, and Vanity”

Thursday, Feb. 27: 6 p.m., Peristyle

"Is that thing before me a painting, or is it really there?" In this lecture, Ivan Gaskell, professor of cultural history at the Bard Graduate Center in New York City, looks at some of the ways in which artists have depicted ordinary things, including those that constitute still life, so as to trick the beholder's eyes into thinking that those very items are present. Contrary to earlier discussions of “trompe l'oeil” (fooling the eye), this lecture suggests that if the beholder remains unaware that the illusion is just that—an illusion—the painter has failed. Drawing on examples from centuries of European and North American art, this lecture demonstrates that if trompe l'oeil painters are to receive credit for their artistry and skill, what at first seems to be a painterly deception must be seen for what it is: an artwork, not reality. This Master Series is presented in conjunction with the exhibition ONE EACH: Still Lifes by Pissarro, Cezanne, Manet & Friends. The Masters Series is supported in part by the TMA Ambassadors.