This summer has been filled with Forain, more Forain, and even more Forain! With the closing of the show only 2 days away, I thought it would be nice to recap how it all started and how Forain got here in the first place.
The prep work for this extraordinary exhibition began much earlier than this summer for this once in a lifetime retrospective on the French artist. The Dixon Gallery and Gardens acquired the bulk of our Forain acquisitions in 1993 and became an "essential destination" of Forain's corner of the Impressionist movement. However, it wasn't until 2008 that the Dixon began conceiving a show based solely on this artist. After months of planning and preparation had taken place for a traveling exhibition of Forain's works, in 2009 the Petit Palais in Paris requested 10 works by Forain in the Dixon's collection. This request along with much communication and many meetings with the Petit Palais, staff, and board of the Dixon is what eventually led to the partnership with the Petit Palais in exhibiting this show. The partnership with the Petit Palais was not the only historical collaboration underway for that summer. The Brooks and the Dixon had always desired a partnership in some aspect. and the Forain retrospective was a perfect match to compliment their exhibition, The Impressionist Revolution.
2010 and the first half of 2011 were a busy time here, as staff members prepared for the most important and biggest exhibition in the Dixon's history. Not only were there installation and traveling concerns for the paintings, drawings, and other Forain works, but there were also issues surrounding programming and related events to accompany the show. Every department in the museum had to bring its share of suggestions and plan how each idea would compliment the other along with the proceedings for each. Ideas for Cafe Forain, Forain After Dark, Forain Family Day and Forain Sunday Lectures and all other educational programs were birthed in these months, along with each program's fruition, including an invitation only Gala that was the talk of the town weeks before and prior to the event. And now each program, event and idea has begun to come to a close.
Jean-Louis Forain: La Comédie parisienne never lost steam, drawing record audience numbers and media coverage, and although slowly but surely our events and programs have ended (September 18 was our last Forain Sunday Lecture. Last night was the finale of Forain After Dark. Cafe Forain will be closing on Sunday, October 9), our audience has continued to support the show and the Dixon, and for that we are grateful.
Our closing weekend already started with an exciting visit from the French Ambassador to the United States, Excellency Mr. François Delattre on Friday, October 7. This weekend will offer visitors a chance to see the opening lecture by Forain's granddaughter and curator of the show, Florence Valdes-Forain, with a screening of the lecture in the auditorium from 10 am - 4pm on Saturday, October 8. On Sunday, October 9, enjoy tours by Valdes-Forain at 2pm, Associate Curator Julie Pierotti at 3pm, and Dixon Director Kevin Sharp at 4pm.
We hate to see him go, but we have enjoyed him while he was here. Say farewell and send him off in style this weekend!