Impressionism, Fashion, and Modernity
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
(Exhibition Closes May 27, 2013)
by Alison Winfield Burns
In great art, there’s a relationship between surfaces that are lit and those that are not.
“It’s about relationships!” Richard Phillips (a guest instructor from Yale) says to me one afternoon during a figure painting class at Columbia University. He shoves his bare arm into sunlight, showing me the contrast of his skin in bright light and then sharply, in shadow.
Impressionism, Fashion, and Modernity at the Metropolitan Museum of Art displays how master painters (mavericks in their day) created magical gardens — and gowns — using relationships between light and dark color.
Nineteenth century writer Emile Zola describes the dresses painted by his friend, the Impressionist Claude Monet, as “fabrics divided in two by shade and sun.” At the time, the Paris Salon each year provided the one and only forum that could