Théodore Chassériau: Parfum Exotique


Born in what is now the Dominican Republic, Romantic painter Théodore Chassériau (1819-1856) began his studies in Paris under Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres at the age of 11. Although trained in the classics, Chassériau's life took a dramatic turn after several trips to Algeria, which opened his eyes to what was then known as 'exoticism'. Famed works such as 'Arab Chiefs Visiting Their Vassals' and 'Jewish Women on a Balcony', both now displayed in the Louvre, are evidence of the artist's prodigious talent. Having passed away at the age of 37, Chassériau did not live to see some of his work, especially his impressive church murals, discarded and destroyed. Such misfortune has contributed to a dearth of large-scale exhibitions dedicated to his work, so this spring special at the National Museum of Western Art should not be missed. In addition to around 90 Chassériau pieces, 'Parfum Exotique' includes paintings by the likes of Gustave Moreau and Odilon Redon, both of whom recognised Chassériau as an influence.


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