Though largely forgotten today and always discreetly behind the scenes in his own day, Félix Fénéon had an extraordinary impact on the development of modernism in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and played a key role in the careers of leading artists from Georges Seurat and Paul Signac to Pierre Bonnard and Henri Matisse. The centrepiece of the exhibition will be Signac’s portrait of Fénéon, Opus 217. Against the Enamel of a Background Rhythmic with Beats and Angels, Tones, and Tints, Portrait of M. Félix Fénéon in 1890 – an important recent acquisition to MoMA’s collection.
The exhibition and catalogue are a collaboration with the Musées d’Orsay/Orangerie (opening October, 2019) and the Musée du quai Branly-Jacques Chirac (opening May, 2019). The MoMA presentation will combine, distil and augment elements from the two complimentary Paris venues. The Quai Branly focuses primarily on Fénéon’s collection of sculpture from Africa and Oceania, while the Orangerie focuses primarily on European paintings and works on paper.