Forain is Open!

After months and months of hard work and excitement, Jean-Louis Forain: La Comedie parisienne finally opened to the public a couple of weeks ago on June 26.  As we have been saying for a while, this is the most ambitious exhibition in the history of the Dixon Gallery and Gardens, and it has been such a thrill to see it come to life.  If you’ve been to see the show, you can’t help but notice how the Dixon’s galleries have been transformed to accentuate Forain’s inimitable work. 
The installation of this show was a production in and of itself and was in many ways an all-staff effort.  People from every department chipped in to help make the transition of the show from Paris to Memphis an easy and seamless one.  

The Dixon installation team (including director Kevin Sharp!) install one of the mosaics featured in Jean-Louis Forain: La Comedie parisienne.

Lots of blood, sweat, and tears were shed during the two week installation, but it was all worth it in the end when we unveiled the most beautiful and breathtaking exhibition we’ve ever produced!

Plough Gallery and title wall for Jean-Louis Forain: La Comedie parisienne

 As many of you may know, the Dixon has a deep connection to Forain and his work, as we are the major repository for his work in the United States.   Starting in 1987 with our first Forain acquisition, Woman Breathing in Flowers, we have continued to collect and promote the work of this essential Impressionist here in the Memphis and around the United States.

Jean-Louis Forain, Woman Breathing in Flowers, Collection of the Dixon Gallery and Gardens

 In 1993, the Dixon acquired around 55 of Forain’s paintings and works on paper in a move that was described by the International Herald Tribune as a “masterstroke.”  When that purchase was made, the Dixon began a unique friendship with the artist’s great-granddaughter, Florence Valdes-Forain.  Nearly 20 years later, we have collaborated with Florence and her colleagues at Paris’ Petit Palais to produce this landmark retrospective exhibition. 

Florence Valdes-Forain and me at the Sunday all-members opening on June 26.

As a young curator, it has been the experience of a lifetime being part of this exhibition.  I can’t tell you how much I have learned and I feel privileged to be part of the team that helps re-introduce Jean-Louis Forain and his work to the United States.  This exhibition has been such a blast from the very beginning, and now that it’s officially open, the real fun has started!

If you haven’t stopped by to see the show, I invite you to come to the Dixon this weekend to check it out.  Throughout the run of the show, there will be several fun and informal tours and lectures that tie into Forain, his work, and his legacy.  I don’t think the galleries at the Dixon have ever been more beautiful or more alive.  I promise you won’t be disappointed! 
Thanks to everyone in the community for their outpouring of support and enthusiasm–without you this exhibition would never take place!
Hope to see everyone around the Dixon soon.

Julie Pierotti
Associate Curator