Mariano Fortuny painting -
Mariano Fortuny y Marsal (Spanish, 1838–1874), “The Choice of a Model,” 1868–74, oil on wood. National Gallery of Art, Washington. Corcoran Collection (William A. Clark Collection), 2015.143.12.

The Meadows Museum, SMU, will examine the far-reaching influence of 19th-century Spanish painter Mariano Fortuny y Marsal (1838–1874) in the new exhibition “Fortuny: Friends and Followers.”

During his lifetime and well into the early 20th century, Fortuny was extremely popular in both Europe and the United States. His proto-Impressionist style and “exotic” genre scenes influenced so many artists that the style came to be described with its very own “ism”: “Fortunismo.”

William Merritt Chase painting -
William Merritt Chase (American, 1849-1916), “Mrs. Chase and Child (I’m Going to See Grandma),” c. 1889, pastel on paper, 29 x 41 in. (73.7 x 104.1 cm). San Antonio Museum of Art. Gift of Mrs. Frederic G. Oppenheimer, 50.6. Courtesy of the San Antonio Museum of Art.

“Fortuny: Friends and Followers” will explore that legacy by bringing together works from a diverse group of artists, including William Merritt Chase (1849–1916), Jean-Léon Gérôme (1824–1904), Jean Louis Ernest Meissonier (1815–1891), John Singer Sargent (1856–1925), and James Tissot (1836–1902), as well as major works by Fortuny.

James Tissot painting -
James Tissot (French 1836–1902), “Young Woman Holding Japanese Objects,” c. 1864–65, oil on panel, 14 3/8 x 18 in. (36.5 x 46 cm). Private collection.
John Singer Sargent painting -
John Singer Sargent (American, 1856–1925), Study for “The Spanish Dancer,” 1882, watercolor, 11 13/16 x 7 7/8 in. (30 x 20.02 cm). Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, gift of Margaret J. and George V. Charlton in memory of Eugene McDermott, 1974.1.FA. Image courtesy Dallas Museum of Art.
Jean-Leon Gerome painting -
Jean-Léon Gérôme (French, 1824–1904), “Tiger on the Watch”, c. 1888, oil on canvas, 25 × 35 5/8 in. (63.5 × 90.5 cm). Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Gift of the Houston Art League, the George M. Dickinson Bequest, AL.21. Photograph © The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.
Jean-Louis Meissonier painting -
Jean Louis Ernest Meissonier (French 1815–1891), “The Smoker (A Man of the First Empire),” 1873, watercolor and gouache on paper, 13 7/8 x 8 5/8 in. (35.2 x 21.9 cm). Private collection. Image courtesy Dallas Museum of Art.

With almost 70 works by 23 artists, the exhibition will address a variety of themes, including intimate representations of family and home, cosmopolitan life in Europe’s major cities at the time, and the connections between and among the artists themselves. Included in the show are “Beach at Portici” (1874), the major painting Fortuny was working on at his death, acquired by the Meadows Museum in January 2018, and “The Choice of a Model” (1868–74), an important work by the artist on long-term loan from the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

Mariano Fortuny painting -
Mariano Fortuny y Marsal (Spanish, 1838–1874), “Beach at Portici,” 1874, oil on canvas. Meadows Museum, SMU, Dallas. Museum purchase with funds from Mary Anne Cree, Mrs. Eugene McDermott, Susan Heldt Albritton, Linda P. and William A. Custard, Gwen and Richard Irwin, Shirley and Bill McIntyre, Cyrena Nolan, Peggy and Carl Sewell, Gene and Jerry Jones, Pilar and Jay Henry, Barbara and Mike McKenzie, Caren Prothro, Marilyn Augur, Dr. and Mrs. Lawrence S. Barzune, Diane and Stuart Bumpas, the Honorable Janet Kafka and Mr. Terry Kafka, the Mr. and Mrs. Walter M. Levy Fund of Communities Foundation of Texas, Stacey and Nicholas McCord, Linda and John McFarland, Catherine Blaffer Taylor, Julie and George Tobolowsky, Cheryl and Kevin Vogel, Diane and Gregory Warden, Natalie and George Lee, Estelle and Michael Thomas, Bethany and Samuel Holland, President R. Gerald and Gail Turner, Kathleen and Mark Roglán, and an Anonymous Donor; MM.2017.03. Photo by Robert LaPrelle.

Also on view will be a number of drawings and illustrated letters from the album compiled by William Hood Stewart (1820–1897), Fortuny’s chief American patron. Also in the Meadows Museum’s collection, “The Stewart Album” (1860–90) impressionistically records the great American collector’s acquaintance with the Parisian artistic community, and is crucial to understanding Fortuny’s social world.

Mariano Fortuny artist -
Photograph of Mariano Fortuny y Marsal (1838–1874), c. 1871, from “The Stewart Album,” 1860–90. Meadows Museum, SMU, Dallas. Museum purchase thanks to a gift from the Eugene McDermott Foundation and Ms. Jo Ann Geurin Thetford, MM.2013.02.19. Photo by Michael Bodycomb.

“Today Fortuny is not a household name, but his popularity and influence in the 1860s and early 1870s cannot be overstated,” says Meadows Museum Curator Amanda W. Dotseth. “He was one of the best-selling artists of his time and lived a cosmopolitan lifestyle that seamlessly blended work with leisure. He traveled frequently between southern Spain, Paris, Rome, Naples, and Venice with an impressive entourage of friends and followers in tow. And, although he died at only thirty-six years old, his legacy long survived him through his works, which would inspire later generations of artists, from Vincent van Gogh to Dalí and Picasso.”

The exhibition will run through June 2, 2019, at the Meadows Museum (Dallas, TX).

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