The Influence of the Impressionists on Fashion

Susana Ramudo

The display takes a close look at the role fashion played in the work of impressionist artists and their contemporaries.


The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York is well known for hosting splendid exhibitions that elucidate the relationship between fashion and art. Art lovers from all over the world look forward to the Museum’s displays of art and good taste.

The exhibit Impressionism, Fashion and Modernity is preceded by excellent reviews, and attendance in Paris exceeded all expectations. It was organized by the Art Institute of Chicago in collaboration with the MET and the Musee d’Orsay.

EDOUARD MANET. Lady with Fans (Portrait of Nina Callias), 1873.

The display takes a close look at the role fashion played in the work of the impressionists and their contemporaries. Eight artists are presented alongside period costumes, accessories, photographs, and magazines that explain the vital relationship between the two artistic disciplines.

Fashion and Modernity covers the years between 1865 and 1885, when the city of Paris was emerging as the fashion capital of the world. This period saw the development of luxurious department stores and fashion magazines, and the arts were inspired by the costumes and customs of the Parisian bourgeoisie. It is then that the color black ceases to be a synonym of mourning to become the emblem of modernity and urban sophistication. As Walter Benjamin said, “Paris was the capital of the 19th century”. Special attention is paid to fashionable accessories, such as gloves, umbrellas and hats. Each item shines with its own light and adds glimmer to the Paris of yore.

1. Day Dress with Shawl, 1865-67.
2. CLAUDE MONET. Madame Louis Joachim Gaudibert, 1868.

A total of 14 costumes and 79 paintings by Renoir, Manet, Degas, Bazille, Caillebotte, Cassatt and Bartholomé complete the exhibition. Susan Alyson Stein is the curator, and a magnificent catalog, produced by Gloria Groom, curator of the Museum of European art, accompanies the exhibition.

This display is a unique opportunity to view pieces that have not been shown before in the United States. It also opens new channels of information and different points of view that shed light on the work of some of the most admired painters of all times.


© | 2019