Paris, Musée d'Orsay

This exhibition brings together around 100 masks from 1860 to 1910, along with paintings and photographs, showing the revived interest in masks in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The masks, by artists including Rodin, Carriès, Böcklin, Klinger, Gauguin and Picasso, take the interest in symbolism into the realm of the strange, eccentric and dramatic. The pieces in the show reveal experimentation with materials, from glazed stoneware to cast glass and wood.

The development of the mask became an artistic genre, separate from architecture, at the end of the nineteenth century, and was expressive of different customs. During this era, copies of well-known death masks of the likes of Napoleon and Beethoven began to be circulated. Equally, they served as documentation that helped painters make portraits, and – beyond the popular use of the mask in carnivals – were also used for political caricatures.

October 20, 2008, through to February 1, 2009
62 rue de Lille
75007 Paris
T. +33 1 40 49 48 14