A Contemporary Art Ode to the Symbolists and Gustave Moreau


Les Fleurs du Mal, a new exhibition at New York’s Nahmad Contemporary, named after Charles Baudelaire’s literary ode to decadence and eroticism, features the works of 19th-century Symbolist Gustave Moreau alongside modern artists — including Balthus, Marc Chagall, Salvador Dalí, and Henri Matisse — as well as contemporary artists (George Condo, John Currin, Wade Guyton, Damien Hirst, Elizabeth Peyton, and Richard Prince). This is the first time that Moreau is being presented in a contemporary context.

Moreau was a pivotal figure in the development of Modernism, having taught contemporaries like Matisse, Georges Rouault, and Léon Printemps during his tenure at Paris’ École des Beaux-Arts. With an emphasis on spirituality, the uncanny, and the subconscious, Moreau’s paintings drew on a sense of emotionality and the viewer’s individual connection with the work. Baudelaire’s influence on the Symbolist movement ties Moreau to these modern masters and contemporary artists, who have taken Moreau’s meditations in an exciting new direction.

Les Fleurs du Mal is on view through April 9. Click through to see a selection of images from the show.

George CondoWidow’s Watch, 1995Oil on canvas67 x 67 inches© George Condo. Courtesy of the artist and Skarstedt, New York

Marc ChagallL’exode du village au ciel vert, 1969Oil on canvas21.65 x 18.11 inches© 2016 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

John CurrinTwo Germans, 2014Oil on canvas32 x 24 inches© John Currin. Courtesy Gagosian Gallery

Salvador DalíChevaliers en parade, 1942Oil on canvas12.13 x 20.13 inches© Salvador Dalí, Fundació Gala-Salvador Dalí, Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York 2016

Max ErnstLe Cimetière des Oiseaux, 1927Oil on canvas39.38 x 31.88 inches© 2016 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

Wade GuytonUntitled, 2005Epson Ultrachrome Inkjet On Linen26 X 17 InchesCourtesy of the Artist

René MagritteL’explication, 1952Oil on canvas31.5 x 23.63 inches© 2016 C. Herscovici / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Gustave MoreauApollon recevant les offrandes des bergers, c. 1885 Oil on panel10.13 x 6.63 inches

Gustave MoreauLe Poète et La Sirène, 1893 Oil on canvas38.25 x 24.5

Gustave MoreauSainte Cécile (Les anges lui annoncent son prochain martyre), c. 1897 Oil on canvas28.88 x 23.63 inches

Gustave MoreauSusanne et les Vieillards, c. 1896 Oil on canvas38 x 25.5 inches

Elizabeth PeytonDreamt Baroque Masterworks, 2014Oil on board15.25 x 12.25 x 1 inches© Elizabeth Peyton. Courtesy Gladstone Gallery, New York and Brussels