Monday, August 8, 2016

The Artist's Fan in France Comes to Memphis

I have been a member of the Dixon Gallery and Gardens for several years; both the Dixon and the Brooks Museum of Art, another place to enjoy art in Memphis, have been great places to visit when one is in need of art, culture, a lesson in history, or something fun and unique. Every time I visit the Dixon, I always leave with new knowledge as well as more information to conduct further research on a later date. The new exhibit, Henri GuĂ©rard and the Phenomenon of the Artist’s Fan in France, 1875 –1900, is one that I know I'll be visiting on a regular basis.

Guerard (1846 - 1897) was a bohemian Frenchman who fell in love with all things Japanese when the East opened its doors to the West. In particular, he loved the decorative fans created by the Japanese that displayed scenes of everyday life and nature. He then used those fan making techniques to create his own fans for French society and soon, the decorative fans were all the rage. The exhibit at the Dixon provides a well presented and rich peek into a short span of French culture and history, as each of the fans tells a different story of that period.

Among the exhibit are works from Guerard, Charles Toche, Alfred Marinier, F. Denal, Jean Louis Forain, Camille Pissarro, and other well known artists. The exhibit also displays traditional Japanese fans made by Japanese artists such as Gen Ku and Watanabe Nanguku. Among the European artists, Forain was well known for creating works depicting French society, both at home and in the realms of opera and ballet. One fan in particular that caught my eye was created by Toche with verse by Victor Margueritte - if you visit the exhibit, you'll know which one I'm talking about. Also check out the fan painted by Edgar Degas - simply beautiful. There are even three fans that are of a Gothic nature - the bat fan made by Denal was right up my alley.  The fans are colourful and, like I said earlier, depict life in Paris that was filled with gaiety and much decadence. 

Not only is the Dixon known for their lovely art, but also for the gardens. No visit to the Dixon would be complete without a stroll through the areas behind the museum and house. Flowers and plants of every colour as well as statues and larger pieces of art compliment the interior of the Dixon, making the visit a full experience of an appreciation of art. I always find myself taking a long walk through the area; a great place for photographers and those who love to be outdoors.

The exhibit runs from 31 July 2016 through 9 October 2016 - highly recommended to both Memphians and visitors. If you are looking for something to do in Memphis that is not Elvis or BBQ related, check out the Dixon and then the Brooks and later the Metal Museum!

PS - all photographs taken by me at the Dixon. 

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