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Félix Fénéon. The modern times, from Seurat to Matisse

Exhibition from 16 October 2019 to 27 January 2020

No exhibition has yet paid homage to Félix Fénéon (1861-1944), an important figure in the artistic world in the late 19th and early 20th century. The Musée de l’Orangerie, in association with the musée du quai Branly-Jacques Chirac and The Museum of Modern Art, New York, is honouring this extraordinary man who remains unjustly unknown. The exhibition will demonstrate the different facets of this unusual character, with his Quaker-like appearance and deadpan humour, who combined an exemplary career as a civil servant with strong artistic and anarchist convictions. Columnist, editor at the Revue Blanche, art critic, publisher - he published Rimbaud’s ‘Illuminations’ -, and gallery owner, Fénéon was also an exceptional collector who amassed a large number of masterpieces including a unique set of African and Oceanian sculptures. An unconditional supporter of Neo-Impressionism, discoverer of Seurat, artistic director of the Bernheim-Jeune gallery, champion of Fauvism, Futurism and Matisse, Fénéon played a decisive role on the artistic scene in the early 20th century.
The exhibition will bring together an exceptional array of paintings and drawings by Seurat, Signac, Degas, Bonnard, Modigliani, Matisse, Derain, Severini, Balla, etc., pieces from Africa and Oceania, as well as documents and archives.


Paul Signac (1863-1935), Opus 217. Sur l'émail d'un fond rythmique des mesures et d'angles, de tons et des teintes, portrait de M. Félix Fénéon en 1890
Huile sur toile. 29 x 36 1/2 in.
The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Gift of Mr. and Mrs. David Rockefeller. © Digital image, The Museum of Modern Art, New York/Scala, Florence

Isabelle Cahn, chief curator at the Musée d’Orsay
Philippe Peltier, curator at the musée du Quai Branly - Jacques Chirac

This exhibition is organised by the Musées d'Orsay et de l’Orangerie, Paris, the musée du quai Branly- Jacques Chirac, Paris and The Museum of Modern Art, New York.

The exhibition Félix Fénéon. Arts from distant lands was presented at the musée du quai Branly – Jacques Chirac from 28 May to 29 September 2019.

With generous support from La Fondation Jan Michalski pour l’écriture et la littérature

In Media partnership with Le Figaro, Transfuge, Paris Première, RFI and France 24.