When Joseph Bonaparte, elder brother of Napoleon I, fled to America in 1815, he packed his collection of 18th-century French painting. In an effort to spread his native country’s culture across the United States, he put his works on public display, causing a sensation and inspiring a new American fascination with French art. From then on, such works made their way into museums and private collections from coast to coast. America Collects Eighteenth-Century French Painting, on view at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, 21 May-20 August, 2017, is the first survey of American taste for French painting of the period.
Here we share some of our favourite examples of the rococo and neoclassical masterpieces featured in our accompanying book, available here.
America Collects Eighteenth-Century French Painting is edited by Yuriko Jackall and published in association with the National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C. Available now from our website in hardback (£50 + Free UK postage).