A record half a million people visited the Eugène Delacroix retrospective at the Louvre, which has closed before its reopening at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in the fall. In Paris, 180 works gave a full view of the French painter’s ouevre, while slightly fewer works will be shown in New York. Some 540,000 visitors made this the most-visited show in Louvre history.
From the end of March to July 23, the Louvre drew crowds with about 7,200 people flocking to the show per day in the past month. A big draw was the artist's well-known 1830 painting Liberty Leading the People, which will not travel from the Louvre collection for the New York iteration. A number of other masterpieces will shown in New York, marking the first major survey of Delacroix in the U.S.
Eugène Delacroix (1798-1863) was one of the giants of French painting, but his last full retrospective exhibition in Paris dates back to 1963, the centenary year of his death. From the young artist’s big hits at the Salons of the 1820s to his final, lesser-known, and mysterious religious paintings and landscapes, the exhibition showcases the tension that characterizes the art of Delacroix, who strove for individuality while aspiring to follow in the footsteps of the Flemish and Venetian masters of the 16th and 17th centuries.
The exhibition aims to answer the questions raised by Delacroix’s long, prolific, and multifaceted career while introducing visitors to an engaging character: a virtuoso writer, painter, and illustrator who was curious, critical, and cultivated, infatuated with fame and devoted to his work.
Delacroix is on view from Sept. 17 to Jan. 9, 2019, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.