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Félix Fénéon: The Anarchist and the Avant-Garde—From Signac to Matisse and Beyond

August 27, 2020 – January 02, 2021

The Museum of Modern Art

The Museum of Modern Art announces Félix Fénéon: The Anarchist and the Avant-Garde—From Signac to Matisse and Beyond, the first exhibition devoted to the influential French art critic, editor, publisher, dealer, and collector Félix Fénéon (1861–1944). Though largely unknown today and always discreetly behind the scenes in his own era, Fénéon played a key role in the careers of leading artists from Georges Seurat and Paul Signac to Pierre Bonnard and Henri Matisse, each of whom is featured prominently in the exhibition. Félix Fénéon: The Anarchist and the Avant-Garde—From Signac to Matisse and Beyond traces Fénéon’s career through approximately 130 works that highlight his initiatives to help artists via his reviews, exhibitions, and acquisitions; his commitment to anarchism; his literary engagements; and his contributions to the recognition of non-Western art. Bringing together a selection of major works that Fénéon admired, championed, and collected, alongside contemporary letters, documents, and photographs, the exhibition underscores the tremendous impact he had on the development of modernism in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

This exhibition is currently being presented here as part of our Virtual Views series, as we “museum from home.” Explore Fénéon’s life and the art that inspired him through highlights from MoMA curator Starr Figura, along with art, audio, and video features below.

Félix Fénéon: The Anarchist and the Avant-Garde—From Signac to Matisse and Beyond is one of a trio of complementary exhibitions devoted to Fénéon that are organized by The Museum of Modern Art, the Musées d’Orsay et de l’Orangerie, Paris, and the Musée du quai Branly-Jacques Chirac, Paris.

The MoMA exhibition is organized by Starr Figura, Curator, Department of Drawings and Prints, The Museum of Modern Art; Isabelle Cahn, Senior Curator of Paintings, Musée d’Orsay; Philippe Peltier, former Head, Océania and Insulindia Unit, Musée  du quai Branly-Jacques Chirac; with Anna Blaha, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Drawings and Prints, The Museum of Modern Art.

Major support for the exhibition is provided by The International Council of The Museum of Modern Art, Jack Shear, and Denise Littlefield Sobel.

This exhibition is supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities.

MoMA Audio is supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies.

Images

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Paul Signac. Opus 217. Against the Enamel of a Background Rhythmic with Beats and Angles, Tones, and Tints, Portrait of M. Félix Fénéon in 1890. 1890. Oil on canvas. 29 x 36 1/2″ (73.5 x 92.5 cm). The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Gift of Mr. and Mrs. David Rockefeller, 1991. Photo by Paige Knight. © 2019 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

Georges-Pierre Seurat. Study for “A Sunday on La Grande Jatte”. 1884. Oil on canvas. 27 3/4 x 41″ (70.5 x 104.1 cm). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Bequest of Sam A. Lewisohn, 1951

Georges-Pierre Seurat. Seated Woman with a Parasol (Study for La Grande Jatte). 1884–85. Conté crayon on paper. 18 3/4 × 12 3/8 in. (47.7 × 31.5 cm). The Art Institute of Chicago. Bequest of Abby Aldrich Rockefeller, 1999

Félix Vallotton. The Charge. 1893. Woodcut. Composition: 7 7/8 × 10 1/4 in. (20 × 26 cm). The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Larry Aldrich Fund, 1954. Photo by Robert Gerhardt

Alphonse Bertillon. Fénéon. Félix.  1894. Albumen silver print. 4 1/8 × 2 3/4 in. (10.5 × 7 cm). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Gilman Collection, Museum Purchase, 2005

Attributed to the Master of Bouaflé (Guro, Côte d’Ivoire). Heddle pulley. Nineteenth century. Wood and pigment. 8 1/4 × 2 3/8 × 1 15/16 in. (21 × 6 × 5 cm). Fondation Musée Barbier-Mueller, Geneva. © Fondation Musée Barbier-Mueller, photo studio Ferrazzini-Bouchet

Loango, Republic of the Congo. Power Figure (Nkisi). 19th–early 20th century. Wood and iron. 25 3/16 × 8 11/16 × 7 7/8″ (64 × 22 × 20 cm). Private Collection. Photo by Studio-Photo Gérard

Henri Matisse. Interior with a Young Girl (Girl Reading). Paris 1905–06. Oil on canvas. 28 5/8 x 23 1/2″ (72.7 x 59.7 cm). The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Gift of Mr. and Mrs. David Rockefeller, 1991. Photo by Paige Knight. © 2019 Succession H. Matisse / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Luigi Russolo. The Revolt. c. 1911. Oil on canvas. 59 3/8 × 90 13/16″ (150.8 × 230.7 cm). Kunstmuseum Den Haag

Installation view of Félix Fénéon: The Anarchist and the Avant-Garde—From Signac to Matisse and Beyond, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, August 27, 2020–January 2, 2021. Digital Image © 2020 The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Photo by Robert Gerhardt.

 

Installation view of Félix Fénéon: The Anarchist and the Avant-Garde—From Signac to Matisse and Beyond, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, August 27, 2020–January 2, 2021. Digital Image © 2020 The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Photo by Robert Gerhardt.

 

Installation view of Félix Fénéon: The Anarchist and the Avant-Garde—From Signac to Matisse and Beyond, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, August 27, 2020–January 2, 2021. Digital Image © 2020 The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Photo by Robert Gerhardt.

Installation view of Félix Fénéon: The Anarchist and the Avant-Garde—From Signac to Matisse and Beyond, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, August 27, 2020–January 2, 2021. Digital Image © 2020 The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Photo by Robert Gerhardt.

Installation view of Félix Fénéon: The Anarchist and the Avant-Garde—From Signac to Matisse and Beyond, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, August 27, 2020–January 2, 2021. Digital Image © 2020 The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Photo by Robert Gerhardt.

Installation view of Félix Fénéon: The Anarchist and the Avant-Garde—From Signac to Matisse and Beyond, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, August 27, 2020–January 2, 2021. Digital Image © 2020 The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Photo by Robert Gerhardt.

Installation view of Félix Fénéon: The Anarchist and the Avant-Garde—From Signac to Matisse and Beyond, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, August 27, 2020–January 2, 2021. Digital Image © 2020 The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Photo by Robert Gerhardt.

Installation view of Félix Fénéon: The Anarchist and the Avant-Garde—From Signac to Matisse and Beyond, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, August 27, 2020–January 2, 2021. Digital Image © 2020 The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Photo by Robert Gerhardt.

Installation view of Félix Fénéon: The Anarchist and the Avant-Garde—From Signac to Matisse and Beyond, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, August 27, 2020–January 2, 2021. Digital Image © 2020 The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Photo by Robert Gerhardt.

Installation view of Félix Fénéon: The Anarchist and the Avant-Garde—From Signac to Matisse and Beyond, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, August 27, 2020–January 2, 2021. Digital Image © 2020 The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Photo by Robert Gerhardt.

Installation view of Félix Fénéon: The Anarchist and the Avant-Garde—From Signac to Matisse and Beyond, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, August 27, 2020–January 2, 2021. Digital Image © 2020 The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Photo by Robert Gerhardt.

Installation view of Félix Fénéon: The Anarchist and the Avant-Garde—From Signac to Matisse and Beyond, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, August 27, 2020–January 2, 2021. Digital Image © 2020 The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Photo by Robert Gerhardt.