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July 12, 2005

Comments

Tyler Green

Yeah, that's kind of what I meant ... maybe I should have added/said "geo"politics, given that more square footage (at the Getty) was devoted to the late ex-pat works than any other room.

I totally agree on the incomplete hand. At the risk of asking one of those questions curators HATE: Why did the curator choose not to do a full David retro? There's never been one in the US, amazingly 'nuff.

JL

Why did the curator choose not to do a full David retro? There's never been one in the US, amazingly 'nuff.

And I doubt there ever will be. The loans will never happen, at least not enough of them for a plausible full retro. Given that the Getty and the Clark both recently acquired late works, and there are a number of those in American collections and others one could get from Europe, they put together the fullest possible look at the second half of his career that they could. The problem is, that isn't satisfying.

At the risk of repeating myself ad nauseum, focusing on the portraits would have been a much better idea. They could have surveyed the full chronology of David's career (probably) and explored the political aspects of his work but also a number of interesting social and formal aspects of the work. As James Panero suggested in his review, linked to in one of the posts below, they could even have added in a little Greuze or Ingres to show the development of French portraiture before and after. Napoleon could still be in, too.

I don't want to say they didn't do this just because the Getty owns one of the late history paintings. I prefer to think they were ambitious and it didn't work out. I'm very happy I got the chance to see it, though. I may go again.

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