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Jacques-Louis David: Self-Portrait, 1794
Oil on canvas
Musée du Louvre, Paris
Départment des Peintures
Gift of Eugène Isabey, 1852
Photo courtesy of Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute



Staff Report 

WILLIAMSTOWN,  MASSACHUSETTS, 15 June 2005—For those with summer festival and holiday plans in the Berkshires of Massachusetts, a pause at the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown offers an exceptional opportunity to see a small selection of lavish historical paintings and portraits by French artist Jacques-Louis David (1748 - 1825), First Painter to the Emperor—a role he played during Napoleon's reign from 1804 to 1815. After serving time in jail following the radical phase of the French Revolution, David re-emerged in the first years of the nineteenth century as the leading artist in Europe.

Jacques-Louis David: Bonaparte Crossing the Alps at Grand-Saint-Bernard," 1800-1801
Musée national des Châteaux de Malmaison et Bois-Préau, Rueil-Malmaison
© Réunion des Musées Nationaux / Art Resource, New York
Photo: Daniel Arnaudet
Photo courtesy of Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute

Entitled Jacques-Louis David: Empire to Exile, the show features 26 paintings and 22 works on paper, of which eight paintings and 11 works on paper have never before been exhibited in the United States. The exhibition brings together major works drawn from private collections and the holdings of leading institutions such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Cleveland Museum of Art, the Fogg Art Museum, the Louvre, The National Gallery, the State Hermitage Museum, and the Chateau of Versailles.

 Organized into six sections, Empire to Exile traces the evolution of David's work from 1794, following the Reign of Terror, to his death in exile in 1825 at the age of 77. Exhibition sections include Art after Politics, In the Service of Napoleon, Portraits of the Consulate and Empire, Antiquity Revisited, Experiments in Expression, and Portraits in Exile.

Jacques-Louis David: Alexander, Apelles, and Campaspe
c. 1813–23
Oil on panel
Musée des Beaux-Arts, Lille
Photo courtesy of Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institu

 Empire to Exile has been co-organized by the Clark and the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles where the exhibition was on view earlier this year.

Jacques-Louis David: Empire to Exile
5 June - 5 September 2005
The Clark Art Institute
225 South Street
Williamstown, MA 01267
Tel: (1) 413 458 23 03

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