December 14, 2019–March 22, 2020

Implying infinite freedom and open-ended, self-engendering form, the arabesque motif is deeply associated with Islamic art and architecture while also being central to key movements in European art. With a history stretching back to antiquity, arabesque lies at the heart of debates over ornament and meaning in art. Long relegated to the status of frame or border, and used chiefly as a decorative addition, arabesque found new life in the nineteenth century as it "broke out of the frame" and came into its own as an independent driver of pictorial innovation.
Generous support for this exhibition is provided by Denise Littlefield Sobel.

Image: Alphonse Marie Mucha (Czech, 1860–1939), Zodiaque (La Plume) (detail), 1896–97. Color lithograph from multiple stones on tan wove paper, 24 13/16 x 18 1/2 in. The Art Institute of Chicago, Mrs. Victor F. Lawson Collection, 1925.844.