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Kehinde Wiley rencontre Jacques-Louis David

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About : Kehinde Wiley rencontre Jacques-Louis David

Gathered for the first time, the two paintings will dialogue at Malmaison Castle from October 9, 2019 to January 6, 2020, then at the Brooklyn Museum from January 24 to May 10, 2020. Organized by the curators of the two institutions, this presentation will be accompanied, on each site, a rich cultural programming emphasizing both the permanence of the codes of representation of power and the importance of the historical contexts of each of the two works. It will also highlight the part of staging inherent to any portrait, a problem particularly current at the time of the multiplication of images, social networks and staging of oneself.

Iconic painting of Jacques-Louis David and masterpiece of the castle of Malmaison, The First Consul crossing the Alps was commissioned in 1800 in the name of the King of Spain, who hoped to attract the good graces of the young General Bonaparte . The idea of ​​being represented "calm on a fiery horse" would emanate from Napoleon himself, proud to put his steps in those of Hannibal and Charlemagne. The power of the composition proposed by the artist encouraged him to paint four replicas, today in Berlin, Vienna and Versailles (two copies). Transported to Madrid, the original did not prevent the King of Spain from being dethroned eight years later and replaced by Joseph, Napoleon's own brother. Exiled in the United States at the fall of the Empire, the latter took away the painting of David, which he exhibited on his property in New Jersey. The work was even loaned to exhibitions in Philadelphia, where she inspired local artists. Returning to Europe in 1832, she remained in Joseph's descent until her great-granddaughter offered it to Malmaison in 1949.

The First Consul crossing the Alps has caused many copies and misappropriations, but none seems as full of meaning as the great version painted in 2005 by Kehinde Wiley, an American artist born in 1977 in Los Angeles. Since 2001, Wiley deliberately questions the great tradition of the historical portrait, designed to express and reinforce the social status and power of the model. His paintings highlight African-American models who, like the artist himself, are confronted with their exclusion from some of the stories of European art history and history. With Napoleon Leading the Army over the Alps, the artist, while retaining the horse and part of the original painting, replaces Bonaparte by an unnamed African-American wearing a lattice and Timberland. The work, which belongs to the permanent collections of the Brooklyn Museum, belongs to a series of equestrian portraits entitled "Rumors of War. True challenge to the prejudices attached to the canons of art, it mixes with the codes of the great portrait of pageantry borrowing from contemporary African-American culture. Questioning the codes of representation of power, she also emphasizes the need for power and self-representation of each.

Avenue du Château de Malmaison 92500 Rueil-Malmaison France

Phone : 33 (0)1 41 29 05 57

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From 09/10/2019 to 06/01/2020.
Closed on Tuesday.

Period: Autumn, Winter


Full price: 6.50 €, Reduced price: 5 €.


Spoken languages : English , French


RER A / Rueil-Malmaison station or metro line 1 up to La Defense,
and then bus no. 258: ‘Le Château’ bus stop

Disabled access - only on the ground floor, Osiris lodge, car
lodge and park.

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