Opening Lecture: Guillaume Lethière

Opening Lecture: Guillaume Lethière

Saturday, June 15, 2024

11:00 AM–12:00 PM
(See the event location map)
Get directions to the Clark
Exhibition co-curators Esther Bell, deputy director and Robert and Martha Berman Lipp Chief Curator, and Olivier Meslay, Hardymon Director, introduce Guillaume Lethière and provide an inside look at the development of this ambitious exhibition.

Born in the French colony of Guadeloupe, Guillaume Lethière (1760–1832) was a key figure in French painting during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. The son of a white plantation owner and an enslaved woman of mixed race, Lethière moved to France with his father at age fourteen. He trained as an artist and successfully navigated the tumult of the French Revolution to achieve the highest levels of recognition in his time. A favorite artist of Napoleon’s brother Lucien Bonaparte, Lethière served as director of the Académie de France in Rome, as a member of the Institut de France, and as a professor at the École des Beaux-Arts. Despite his remarkable accomplishments, Lethière is not well known today. The exhibition, organized in partnership with the Musée du Louvre and featuring some eighty paintings, prints, and drawings, celebrates Lethière’s extraordinary career and sheds new light on the presence and reception of Caribbean artists in France during his lifetime.

Free. Accessible seats available; for information, call 413 458 0524.

Image: Guillaume Lethière, Brutus Condemning His Sons to Death (detail), 1788, oil on canvas. The Clark, 2018.1.1