On view are European works on paper spanning the sixteenth through the twentieth centuries, including a number of recent acquisitions. Among the highlights is a group exploring depictions of gatherings of the Muses and related allegories of the art of painting in prints and drawings by Dutch and German artists around 1600. A selection of later German works focuses on Romantic imaginary landscapes. French art also figures prominently in the installation, with a survey of the development of color techniques in French printmaking in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and a selection of oil sketches on paper by François Boucher and his contemporaries, several of which have been recently cleaned by the Department of Paintings Conservation.
The nineteenth century in France is represented in a group of drawings and lithographs celebrating the two hundredth anniversary of the birth of Honoré Daumier (1808–1879), as well as selected works by Edouard Manet (1832–1883), including his illustrations for Edgar Allan Poe's poem "The Raven."
Included is a sketchbook of watercolors, notes, and plans that records an assignment carried out by Napoleon's favorite architect, Pierre-François-Léonard Fontaine who was sent to assess the suitability of converting the château d’Eu, then in use as a military hospital, into an Imperial palace. The château had been built in the sixteenth century by Henri I, duc de Guise and his wife Catherine de Clèves. The château would be used as a summer palace by Louis-Philippe from 1830–48 and has since 1973 housed the Musée Louis-Philippe.
In addition to several watercolors of the château, the church, the village, and the valley of Eu in Normandy, the sketchbook records the countryside and cities Fontaine passed through en route to Eu, including the towns of Beauvais, Amiens, and Dieppe. They range from port scenes bustling with activity to bucolic views of the rural landscape.
The sketchbook is open to a different page each week during the presentation.