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Getty Exhibition Recreates a Day In the Life of a Fashionable 18th-Century Parisian Townhouse

The nation of France, and its capital city of Paris in particular, held a special status in European culture during the 18th century. The upper echelons of societies throughout Europe were predominantly Francophiles—imitating French fashions of dress and furniture in their daily lives. On view in the Exhibitions Pavilion at the J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, April 26 through August 7, 2011, Paris: Life & Luxury re-imagines, through art and material culture, the complex and nuanced lifestyle of elite 18th-century Parisians who made their city the fashionable and cultural epicenter of Europe.


Inspired by the Getty Museum’s extensive French decorative arts collection and the correspondingly strong holdings of French illustrated books in the Getty Research Institute, Paris: Life & Luxury will provide a rich cultural and historical experience that closely mirrors daily life in 18th-century France. Bringing together approximately 160 objects, roughly half of which will be on loan from twenty-six museums and private collections around the world, the exhibition will include a wide range of paintings, sculpture, applied arts, drawings, metalwork, furniture, architectural fittings, lighting and hearth fixtures, scientific and musical instruments, clocks and watches, textiles and dress, books, and maps.

The exhibition is organized by the J. Paul Getty Museum and curated by Charissa Bremer-David, curator of sculpture and decorative arts, with Peter Björn Kerber, assistant curator of paintings. Contributors to the exhibition’s accompanying publication are Charissa Bremer-David, Peter Björn Kerber, Mimi Hellman, Joan DeJean, and Kimberly Chrisman-Campbell. The exhibition is on view at the J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, Los Angeles from April 26 through August 7, 2011 before traveling to the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, where it will be on view from September 18 through December 10, 2011.

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