Robert L. Herbert, after a long career at Yale, is now Andrew W. Mellon Professor Emeritus of Humanities at Mount Holyoke. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society, and has been named Officier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Government. Among his books are Impressionism: Art, Leisure and Parisian Society, Nature’s Workshop: Renoir’s Writings on the Decorative Arts, and Seurat: Drawings and Paintings. His most recent book is Seurat and the Making of La Grande Jatte.


Godfather of the Modern?

Paul Cézanne: Madame Cézanne in Blue, 1888-1890

Cézanne and Beyond

an exhibition at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, February 26–May 17, 2009

Cézanne und die Moderne

an exhibition at the Fondation Beyeler, Riehen bei Basel, Switzerland, October 10, 1999–January 9, 2000
Paul Cézanne’s art is a vein of gold that’s been constantly mined but never exhausted. Since the early twentieth century, successive generations of artists have extracted nuggets and reflections from it. Cézanne was not well known until the late 1890s when he was “discovered” by young artists who were rebelling …

Cunning Claude Monet

The Unknown Monet: Pastels and Drawings

Catalog of the exhibition by James A. Ganz and Richard Kendall

Claude Monet and His Posterity

Catalog of the exhibition by Serge Lemoine, Shuji Takashina, Akiko Mabuchi, and Yusuka Minami
In May this year, art-minded travelers could have seen four Monet exhibitions on successive days, going from the Wildenstein gallery in New York to the Cleveland Museum of Art, to London’s Royal Academy of Arts, and then to Tokyo’s new National Art Center. That four shows of Monet’s work could …

Unparallel Lives

The Judgment of Paris: The Revolutionary Decade That Gave the World Impressionism

by Ross King

Ernest Meissonier: Master in His Genre

by Constance Cain Hungerford
Ross King’s new book is the third in which he writes on moments in art history. His first two, Brunelleschi’s Dome: How a Renaissance Genius Reinvented Architecture (2000), and Michelangelo and the Pope’s Ceiling (2003), were well-regarded best sellers. He is not an art historian (he has a Ph.D. in …

Art Under Siege

Defeated Flesh: Medicine, Welfare, and Warfare in the Making of Modern France

by Bertrand Taithe

Art, War and Revolution in France, 1870–1871: Myth, Reportage and Reality

by John Milner
At the outset of the Franco-Prussian War in July 1870, President Ulysses S. Grant sent William I of Prussia a message which the French, on seeing a copy, interpreted as expressing a position of benevolent neutrality. In December, after the ignominious collapse of the French armies, Victor Hugo bitterly accused …

An Anarchist’s Art

Signac, 1863–1935

catalog of the exhibition by Marina Ferretti-Bocquillon, Anne Distel, John Leighton, and Susan Alyson Stein

Signac: Catalogue raisonné de l'oeuvre peint

by Françoise Cachin, with Marina Ferretti-Bocquillon
On March 21, 1890, the Petite Presse in Paris gave an account of the visit by the president of France, Sadi Carnot, to the annual exhibition of the Society of Independent Artists. “President Carnot had himself introduced to Messieurs Seurat and Signac, two young impressionists, who made themselves available to …

Spirits on Canvas

Technique and Meaning in the Paintings of Paul Gauguin

Vojtech Jirat-Wasiutynski and H. Travers Newton Jr.

Van Gogh and Gauguin: The Search for Sacred Art

Debora Silverman
The turbulent two months that Gauguin and van Gogh spent together in Arles in 1888 have been described in movies and popular novels as well as by art historians. They were, in many accounts, peintres maudits, quintessential Romantic artists who were mocked and misunderstood by conventional society in their own …

Goodbye to All That

Farewell to an Idea: Episodes from a History of Modernism

by T.J. Clark
We would look in vain in the museum world, where most of us are exposed to art history, for the presence of T.J. Clark, one of the most distinctive and influential writers about the art of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Although a very independent scholar who has argued with …

Monet Our Contemporary

Monet in the 20th Century

an exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, September 20-December 27, 1998, and the Royal Academy of Arts, London, January 23-April 18, 1999

Monet in the 20th Century

Catalog of the exhibition by Paul Hayes Tucker, with George T.M. Shackelford and MaryAnne Stevens, and essays by Romy Golan and John House and Michael Leja
This past summer the Frick Collection announced it had borrowed a Monet to accompany its own picture by the artist, Vétheuil, Winter (1879). That the two canvases could be treated as a special exhibition in this citadel of old masters is a token of the vast claim that Monet now …