As the founding fathers were drawing from French Enlightenment philosophy, early American collectors were developing a taste for 18th-century French painting. Since then, Americans have enthusiastically collected French painting from this period. Today, splendid works by artists such as François Boucher, Joseph Ducreux, and Jean-Honoré Fragonard are in public collections across the country — from major metropolises to Omaha, Muncie, and Jacksonville.
For the first time, America Collects Eighteenth-Century French Painting will bring together nearly 70 of these paintings, well-known masterpieces and hidden gems alike, into an exhibition that tells the story of the collectors, curators, museum directors, and dealers responsible for developing an American appetite for the French rococo and neoclassical styles. A fully illustrated catalog on the development of this history of taste will accompany the exhibition.