(Paris: Skira, 2010)
I proofread the exhibition catalogue of the nineteenth century French artist Jean-Léon Gérôme.
An overview of Gérôme’s oeuvre from his sources of inspiration to his influences on others. The public perception of Jean-Léon Gérôme has changed greatly over the past decades. Long stigmatized as an emblem of sterile academicism, he is now considered one of the nineteenth century’s great image makers. This catalog highlights and analyses his bountiful expression of a visual grammar that takes illusionist obsession to the limits of the bizarre and establishes a resonance with all visual arts, including prints, photography, and cinema. In particular, it will make it possible to propose new approaches to such diverse issues as Gérôme’s place in the French painting of his time, his theatrical conception of historical themes, his complex exoticism, his use of polychrome in sculpture, his role as a teacher, his relationship with historical models, how the figure of this artist galvanised the anti-academy clash at the end of the nineteenth century, and lastly, the singular American destiny of his works. The catalog sets out to explore, beyond the immediate seductive qualities and accessibility of Gérôme’s oeuvre, its double identity, both erudite and popular, which now renders it so precious to art historians and to the general public.