A celebration of art at the Standard Bank Gallery, 20th Century Masters: The Human Figure, is the start of many projects for The France-South Africa Seasons 2012 & 2013. The aim of the project is to improve understanding between the two countries and to celebrate and strengthen ties between France and South Africa.
Wifredo Lam, la femme au couteau [Woman using a knife], 1950. Oil on canvas. 126 x 99.5 cm. Lyon, Musée des Beaux-Arts. © Lyon MBA / Photo RMN Ojéda-Le Mage
The exhibition is a selection of about 40 art pieces of some of France's leading cultural institutions. The exhibition offers a survey of various ways in which mainly French artists have depicted the human body over the last 100 years, through painting, printmaking, film and photography.
Pioneers of early modernism
The collection, curated by Sylvie Ramond, director of the Musée des beaux-Arts de Lyon, will make you appreciate art on a whole new level. Some of the artists featured are: Fernand Leger, Georges Braque, Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Félix Vallotton, Victor Brauner and Wilfredo Lam, all of them renowned pioneers of early modernism. They are acclaimed for their contribution towards freeing the artist from the traditional responsibility to depict the human body naturalistically, by adopting a subjective approach to reality and a new focus on innovation and personalised expression.
The exhibition also showcases works by 19th-century greats, such as Gustav Courbet, Jean-Francois Millet and Edouard Manet, and artists associated with Impressionism, including Berthe Morisot, Edgar Degas and August Renoir. The exhibition is complemented by a comprehensive book, which includes contributions by both French and South African art historians and critics.