During the final decades of the ancien regime, prominent collectors in Paris commissioned and collected French paintings of the period, works by Greuze, Fragonard, David, and others that together comprised "l'Ecole Francoise", the French School. In this work, an eminent art historian discusses six of these collectors and the collections they assembled, showing that private patronage in this period was revitalized by this patriotic desire to collect contemporary art. Colin B. Bailey explains why a taste for modern art emerged at this time and how it was encouraged and fostered. Examining the relationship between artist and patron, he discusses the degree of influence these enlightened patrons and collectors expected to exercise when new works were being commissioned. Bailey shows that collectors of 18th-century French painting seem not to have made rigid distinctions between the various genres or styles of the Academy's practitioners. Instead, history paintings and genre paintings, both rococo and neo-classical, were exhibited proudly on their walls as superb examples of the French School.
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Colin B. Bailey, chief curator at The Frick Collection, New York, is also the author of Renoir's Portraits: Impressions of an Age, published by Yale University Press.Review:
A major contribution to the field, Bailey's meticulous scholarship provides fresh information and new insights in abundance. -- Choice
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