Hammer Galleries Present Modern Masters. Paris and Beyond

Modern Masters: Paris and Beyond, features over twenty exceptional paintings by Marc Chagall, Fernand Léger, Henri Matisse, Joan Miró, Pablo Picasso and Kees van Dongen, as well as significant sculptures by Jean Dubuffet, Joan Miró, Henri Matisse and Alexander Calder. Including important works from the “années folles” or “crazy years” of 1920’s Paris through the decades following the Second World War, Paris and Beyond traces the development of these artists from their initial avant-garde beginnings through later decades of the 20th century as they moved ‘beyond’ Paris.

For the first half of the 20th century, Paris was the undisputed center of the art world, the place where any serious artist had to be. Artists and writers from all over the world flocked there. Van Dongen came to Paris from Holland shortly before the turn of the century, and others followed – Picasso and Miró from Spain, Chagall from Russia and Matisse, Léger and Dubuffet from the French provinces. As the noted author Edward Lucie-Smith describes in the Paris and Beyond catalogue essay, “the result was a mixture between a stewpot and a laboratory. A stewpot, because all kinds of cultural traditions were blended together. A laboratory because this is where all kinds of artistic ideas were continually tested to their limits….The city was a buzzing hive of new ideas.” It was in Paris where many of these artists made their crucial breakthroughs, where they became “Modern Masters”.

Gradually, however, the Parisian artistic community began to disperse. In the decades following the inter-war years, many of these Masters became established artists and started to seek inspiration outside of Paris. External factors such as the onset of World War II certainly accelerated the flight from the city as well. Léger and Chagall sought refuge in America, and Miró returned to Spain. It was during this time that many of these artists explored media outside of painting, so Hammer Galleries’ exhibition includes sculptures by Matisse and Dubuffet, ceramics by Miró, and an exquisite “mobile” by Calder .” Individually, the artists featured in Paris and Beyond each made vital contributions to the avant-garde; overall as a movement they revolutionized modern art. The significance and appeal of these Modern Masters endures today.

An 86-page catalog with an introductory essay by noted art critic and art historian, Edward-Lucie Smith accompanies the exhibition. A virtual tour of the exhibition will also be available at www.hammergalleries.com

Image: Pablo Picasso, Le Peintre, 1967. Oil on canvas, 39 3/8 x 31 7/8 inches. Photo: Courtesy Hammer Galleries.

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