Michael Snow
Clothed Woman (In Memory of my Father) 1963
oil and lucite on canvas
152 x 386.2 cm
Purchased 1966
National Gallery of Canada

The Age of Watteau, Chardin and Fragonard Masterpieces of French Genre Painting

Ottawa, Canada - June 4, 2003


 « Au temps de Watteau, Chardin et Fragonard. Chefs d'œuvre de la peinture de genre en France »  

The National Gallery of Canada is proud to present a unique opportunity to appreciate the magnificence of 18th-century French genre painting through its summer's premier exhibition: The Age of Watteau, Chardin and Fragonard: Masterpieces of French Genre Painting. Ottawa is the first and only Canadian stop for this international exhibition.

This spectacular offering brings together for the first time some 100 paintings by 25 of the most gifted artists of the 18th century, including works never before shown in Canada. The exhibition will premiere in Ottawa from 6 June to 7 September, before travelling on to Washington, D.C., and Berlin.

Visitors will have the chance to explore fascinating genre painting of the era through the works of such masters as Watteau, Chardin, Fragonard, Boucher, Greuze and Boilly. In their humanism and their attention to detail, these talented artists recreate the men and women of Parisian society in various situations and stages of 18th-century life.

This major retrospective shows that genre painting's charming anecdotal scenes often come with intriguing moral lessons. Among others, viewers will see the amorous and nostalgic fêtes galantes of Antoine Watteau, the dignified scenes of daily domestic life of Jean-Siméon Chardin, the passionate family dramas of Jean-Baptiste Greuze, the erotic liaisons dangereuses of Jean-Honoré Fragonard and the depictions of urban society at leisure of Boilly.

The Age of Watteau, Chardin and Fragonard: Masterpieces of French Genre Painting encompasses the entire 18th century, from the last years of Louis XIV to the French Revolution, and brings together works by the most celebrated artists of the age.

The exhibition is organized by the National Gallery of Canada, the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., and the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Gemäldegalerie. It includes loans from France, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States.

The National Gallery wishes to thank its media sponsors, CBC Television, La Télévision de Radio-Canada, the Ottawa Citizen and Le Droit, for their invaluable support in the presentation of this exhibition.

A richly illustrated catalogue, produced by the National Gallery of Canada in association with Yale University Press, New Haven and London, accompanies the exhibition.


Joanne Charette
Director, Public Affairs
tel. (613) 990-5050
fax (613) 990-9824

Anne Tanguay
Senior Media Relations Officer
tel. (613) 990-6835
fax (613) 990-9824