It is downstairs in the Morgan Stanley East Gallery across from their Blake exhibition (also open until January 3). The whole exhibition is in one room set up with display cases down the center, holding plenty of pieces. I was immediately excited to see Fragonard's The Gardens of Villa d'Este and of course the Watteaus!
The fabulous rococo. The style developed during the reign of Louis XIV and the exhibition covers the end of his reign through that of Louis XVI, until neoclassicism was favored at the wake of the Revolution. The journey from the Sun King to Louis XVI is described through drawing. The show begins with the rich, often irregular compositions of the rococo, made up of intricate and flowing line which forms space and figures. The imagery is very pleasing to the eye, lush landscapes, rolling alleys, private parties and innocent conversations. It is all very attractive.
The booting of the King was a ceremony and those who had the privilege of chambre entree could attend. Typically le Botté du Roi occurred when the King changed his coat on his way to or from a hunt/walk. If you were of appropriate family/status/background all you had to do was ask the first gentleman of the chambre if you could attend. He could allow up to five suitable persons in, so you would need to get there early!
Also on display among the drawings is a volume of a series; Recueil choisi des plus belles vues des palais, château, et maisons royales de Paris et des environs by Rigaud. The book contains images of some of the most beautiful sights at Versailles by Rigaud, who was a talent at topographical scenes. The Morgan displays Les Dômes, which was created in preparation for the book. As noted on the website, this image let's us see what is no longer there, the two marble pavilions. And, of course, all the silk.
In the mid to later years of the rococo, one artist, Charles Joseph Natoire found himself director of the French Academy in Rome. Fond of landscapes and the importance of practising them, he encouraged his own students to do the same. The Cascade at the Villa Aldobrandini, Frascati is a beautiful example of a pen and ink landscape, shaded with brown washes. It is absolutely lovely.
The drawing shows Brutus at the execution of his own sons. Brutus led a revolt against the last King of Rome and was a leader in creating the republic. His sons plotted to restore the throne, and upon discovery he oversaw their executions. A grave subject yet compelling image. How far we have come indeed.
If you will not be in town before January, you can see selected works from the show (including all of the above images) on the Morgan's website. The Morgan Library and Museum is on Twitter and updates often with events and fun links: MorganLibrary (My account is MarieGossip.) So who is going to the show?