September 22 - December 18, 2005
Fairchild Gallery

In the fall of 2005, the Mead Art Museum at Amherst College will present The Empress Josephine: Art and Royal Identity, a major international loan show focusing on Napoleon's consort, "the incomparable Josephine.” The exhibition will be on view from 22 September to 18 December 2005, and the Mead will be the exclusive venue.

Capitalizing on the interest in the Napoleonic period arising from the 200th anniversary of the coronation of the emperor and empress, the exhibition will explore the ways in which Josephine, like Napoleon, made use of art and patronage in the fashioning of her royal identity.

The subject of many biographies, Josephine was one of the most popular French consorts, but her power and influence have been understated throughout history. It is only in recent years that she has been given attention as a figure of significant political and cultural authority. Although divorced from Napoleon in 1809 because she was unable to provide an heir to the throne, Josephine retained the title of empress and queen until her death in 1814. She contributed to Napoleon's propagandistic exploitation of the visual arts, and she played a vital role in his rise to power. The Empress Josephine: Art and Royal Identity will contribute to this revised understanding of the empress, adding new insights about her patronage, influence, and status in the political and cultural life of her times.

The exhibition will explore the image of the empress as projected in official and unofficial portraits as well as other types of representations, such as British caricatures and French popular prints. It will reflect the range of her collecting interests and patronage–from horticulture, botanical prints, and the design of her garden at Malmaison to fashion, commemorative projects, and contemporary art, including women artists and the painters of the Troubadour style.

Building from a core group of Napoleonic works from the collection of the Mead, the exhibition will consist of approximately 90 objects – paintings, drawings, prints, miniatures, sculpture, and decorative arts. Loans will be drawn from North American and European collections, including 30 works from the Musée de Malmaison, the principal museum devoted to Josephine, and several from the Bibliothèque Thiers, Institut de France, Paris, which houses one of the largest archives devoted to Napoleon and Josephine. Other institutional lenders include the Louvre, The Metropolitan Museum of Art; Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, Brown University; Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, McGill University, Montreal; and Houghton Library, Harvard University.

With links to courses at Amherst and other Five College institutions, The Empress Josephine: Art and Royal Identity will be accompanied by a richly illustrated scholarly catalogue by Dr. Carol Solomon Kiefer, Curator of the exhibition. Dr. Bernard Chevallier, Director and Chief Curator at Malmaison, and Dr. Alain Pougetoux, Curator at Malmaison, will also contribute to the catalogue. There will be several related public programs, including musical performances, special lectures, and gallery talks.

Support for the exhibition, catalog, and related programs has been generously provided by the Drue Heinz Trust, Amherst Art Series Fund, Georges Lurcy Lecture Series Fund at Amherst College, The Hall and Kate Peterson Fund, the following departments at Amherst College: English, European Studies, Fine Arts, French, History, Music, Russian, and Women's and Gender Studies. .


Thursday, September 29, 4:30 p.m.
Lecture and Opening Reception
Lecture by Bernard Chevallier, Director, Musée de Malmaison - Josephine and Malmaison sponsored by the Georges Lurcy Lecture Series Fund. Stirn Auditorium

Wednesday, October 5, noon
Gallery Talk - Carol Solomon Kiefer, Curator of European Art, The Empress Josephine: Art and Royal Identity. Fairchild Gallery

Saturday, October 29, 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
The Mead Art Museum, Amherst College, Amherst, MA, will host “Queens, Queens , Queens & Empresses,” a one-day symposium in conjunction with the exhibition The Empress Josephine: Art and Royal Identity on view from September 22 – December 18, 2005. Papers will explore issues of representation, power, and patronage of queens and other royal women from several historical periods. Pruyne Lecture Hall, Fayerweather

10:00 – 10:15 am
Jill Meredith, Director and Chief Curator
Mead Art Museum, Amherst College

Morning Session
Moderator: Ronald Rosbottom, Amherst College

10:15 – 10:45 am
Georgianna Ziegler, Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, D.C.
Elizabeth I, a Once and Future Queen

10:45 – 11:15 am
Nicola Courtright, Amherst College
Medici Florence and the Invention of Queenly Authority in France

11:15 – 11:45 am
Katia Dianina, Amherst College
The Russian Minerva: Catherine the Great and Her Hermitage Museum

11:45 am – 12:00 pm
Question period

12:00 – 1:45 pm
Break for Lunch.
Visit exhibition The Empress Josephine: Art and Royal Identity

Afternoon Session
Moderator: Frederick Griffiths, Amherst College

1:45 – 2:15 pm
Carol Solomon Kiefer , Mead Art Museum , Amherst College
The Empress Josephine: Art and Royal Identity
(This talk will take place in the exhibition at the Mead.)

2:30 – 3:00 pm
Alain Pougetoux , Musée de Malmaison, Rueil-Malmaison , France
Autobiographical Reflections: The Empress Josephine and the Acquisition of Art

3:00 – 3:30 pm
Alison McQueen , McMaster University , Hamilton , Ontario
A Jewel of the Imperial Crown: Empress Eugénie's Chapel at Biarritz

3:30 – 3:45 pm
Question period

The symposium has been organized by the Mead Art Museum, Amherst College. Support has been provided by Air France, Amherst Arts Series Fund, Hall and Kate Peterson Fund, and the following departments at Amherst College : English, European Studies, Fine Arts, French, History, Russian, and Women's and Gender Studies. For more information, visit , or call 413-542-8561.

Sunday, October 30, 2:00 p.m.
Concert: Music from the Salon of the Empress Josephine
The Mead Art Museum and the Amherst College Department of Music present an afternoon of chamber music and song from the time of the empress Josephine for soprano, flute, harp, and fortepiano. Smith College faculty Jane Bryden, Monica Jakuc, and Ellen Redman and Felice Swados join forces with Julia Fox (Amherst College, Class of 2007) for a concert of music that might have been played in the Empress's salon. The composers include Charles-Nicolas Bochsa, Jean-Louis Tulou, Gaspare Spontini, and the Empress's own daughter, Hortense de Beauharnais, Queen of Holland. Dylan Schneider (Amherst College, Class of 2006), introduces the audience to the musical world of Josephine's salon in a pre-concert lecture. Rotherwas Gallery. Limited seating by reservation only with a 2 seat maximum. Call 413-542-2335 for reservations

Film Series - Napoleon
Yves Simoneau, Director, Isabella Rossellini as Josephine, 2002
(361 mins., shown in three parts)
Thursdays at 7:00 p.m.
October 20 & 27, November 3, 2005
William Green Teaching Gallery, Mead Art Museum

November 5, 2005
Conversation with Isabella Rossellini
Isabella Rossellini discusses her role as Josephine in the film Napoleon, (A&E 2002) Stirn Auditorium

Related Exhibitions:

The Age of Napoleon and Josephine: Paintings, Prints, and Drawings
August 27 – December 18, 2005
Collins Gallery
This exhibition will complement The Empress Josephine: Art and Royal Identity at the Mead and the concurrent show at the Smith College Museum of Art, The French Portrait: Revolution to Restoration. Drawn from the permanent collection of the Mead, it presents a selection of paintings, prints, and drawings reflecting Neoclassical and other trends in art in the age of Napoleon and Josephine. Works created in the early decades of the nineteenth century by students and contemporaries of Jacques Louis David, the leading artist during the reign of Napoleon, will be featured. Artists include Baron Antoine-Jean Gros, Pierre-Narcisse Guérin, Jean-Auguste Dominique Ingres, Pierre-Paul Prud'hon, and Nicolas-Antoine Taunay. Several recent acquisitions will be on view for the first time.

The French Portrait: Revolution to Restoration
30 September – 11 December 2005
Smith College Museum of Art, Northampton, MA
Concurrent with The Empress Josephine: Art and Royal Identity, the Smith College Museum of Art, Northampton, MA, will present The French Portrait: Revolution to Restoration, an exhibition of over 50 works exploring the broad scope of French portraiture during the Neoclassical period.