The exhibition includes a selection of highlights of recent acquisitions in the area of French drawings. The earliest is a rare portrait drawing of King Louis XIII by Simon Vouet (1580–1649), a leading painter of the French Baroque. The eighteenth century is represented in a sparkling sheet of studies for a fête galante by Nicolas Lancret (1690–1743) and by the recently rediscovered première pensée for Jean-Baptiste Greuze's L'Accordée de village (Musée du Louvre, Paris). Louis Lafitte's windswept Portrait of a Man of 1793 anchors a group of male portraits of the Neoclassical and early Romantic periods.
The rotation also includes a selection of nineteenth-century drawings, prints, and books illustrating religious themes by German and Austrian artists, who, inspired by Italian old masters and their own deep faith, renewed the art of their home countries. Among the works on view are some given to the museum in the early decades of the collection's history, as well as many recent acquisitions.
Also on view from the nineteenth century are a group of prints and drawings that depict variations on the theme of crowds, with examples by Félix Vallotton (1865–1925), James Ensor (1860–1949), and Francisco de Goya (1746–1828). Finally, a selection of portrait drawings by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres (1780–1867) and Théodore Chassériau (1819–1856) rounds out the exhibition; all were recently acquired as part of a generous gift to the Museum from Mrs. Charles Wrightsman.
Image: Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres (French, 1780–1867). Portrait of General Louis-Étienne Dulong de Rosnay, 1818. Graphite (hard and soft pencils) on wove paper. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Gift of Mrs. Charles Wrightsman, 2012 (2012.150.9)