Checking out a new exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston is one of my favorite things to do on a rainy Sunday afternoon. Always, I get to see beautiful works of art and learn much about things I know little about.
Thus was the situation today when, along with a friend, I went to see the exhibition, High Society, The Portraits of Franz X. Winterhalter.
Today, I learned that German-born Winterhalter (1805-1873) was the 19th century's most renowned portraitist of European aristocracy.
I learned too that "he gained popularity in Paris and became the preferred portraitist of England's Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, and his services were eventually in much demand throughout Europe. He was celebrated for his ability to capture likenesses and for his superb rendering of textures and fashionable details."
High Society showcases about 45 of Winterhalter's magnificent paintings, along with glamorous evening gowns and other couture garments from the period.
The paintings are complemented by select items by sought-after fashion designer Charles Frederick Worth and several of Worth's contemporaries. This major survey features works drawn from public, private and royal collections around the world.
Although many of Winterhalter’s iconic portraits of European nobility predate the entry of couturier Worth (1825–1895) into the field of fashion, their client lists among elegant women of the European courts overlapped.
High Society will remain on view at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston until August 14. And, throughout its time there, a number of related special events will take place, including lectures, workshops for children and a concert, Deeply Mozart, on Mother's Day afternoon.
A Mozart concert! Oh my!
I can't think of a more fitting complement to High Society, a very special exhibition. Already, I hear the music!