No. 268: Holiday clips: The Le Nain

Episode No. 268 of The Modern Art Notes Podcast is a holiday clips episode featuring curator and historian C. D. Dickerson.

Along with the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco’s Esther Bell, Dickerson is a co-curator of  “The Brothers Le Nain: Painters of Seventeenth-Century France,” which is on view through January 29 at the Legion of Honor in San Francisco. Dickerson is the curator and head of sculpture and decorative arts at the National Gallery of Art; Bell is the curator-in-charge of European paintings at FAMSF.

Little is known about the lives of the three Le Nain brothers, Antoine, Louis and Mathieu, who were active in Paris during the 1630s and 1640s. Attribution of their paintings, which were signed simply “Le Nain” — whether any given painting was the product of one, two or three hands — has been a hot topic among scholars for decades. Their work includes religious paintings, portraits and genre scenes. They are best known for their depiction of peasants and the poor, paintings that led to the Le Nain being re-discovered by the 19th-century French realists.

This is the first major American exhibition devoted to the Le Nain, preceded only by a much smaller exhibition at the Toledo Museum of Art in 1947. The only previous Le Nain exhibition anywhere else was in Paris in 1978. The Kimbell/FAMSF exhibition is accompanied by an outstanding 454-page catalogue that was published by FAMSF and is distributed by Yale University Press.

For images of art discussed on the program, click here.

Air date: December 22, 2016

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