May 31, 2023

New Exhibition at the UMW Galleries from Virginia Museum of Fine Arts

The French Horse from Romanticism to Surrealism: Works from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts

Ridderhof Martin Gallery, Sept. 1- Oct. 9, 2016

The French Horse from Romanticism to Surrealism: Works from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts is on view from Sept. 1-Oct. 9 in the Ridderhof Martin Gallery. The horse was omnipresent in 19th-century France. Not only did humans awake and doze off to the clatter of their hooves in the streets and the sounds of their snorts, whinnies, and neighs, avoid their dung as they walked, and smelled their horse-sweat, but they saw them portrayed in every manner and style by all types of artists. The exhibition explores this subject in detail, with major artworks in painting, sculpture, and on paper by artists including Eugène Delacroix, Theodore Géricault, André Derain, Edgar Degas, and others, with every major movement in French art from Romanticism to Surrealism represented. Featuring more than 40 works, the exhibition draws from the collections of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts including the Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon.

About the exhibition

The exhibition is the outcome of an innovative course team-taught during the fall semester by Mitchell Merling, Paul Mellon Curator and Head of the Department of European Art, VMFA; Jeffrey Allison, Paul Mellon Educator and Manager of VMFA Statewide Programs and Exhibitions; and Richard Waller, Executive Director, University of Richmond Museums; with course assistant Kristie Couser, Curatorial Assistant for the Mellon Collection, VMFA. The students participating in the intercollegiate seminar include: Alisa Ashley Carmichael, ’17, art history and studio art double major, Randolph-Macon College; Samantha Davis, ’16, art history and studio art double major, Randolph-Macon College; Emmett Fleming, ’16, studio art major, Virginia Commonwealth University; Alyssa M. Hughes, ’15, art history and German double major, University of Mary Washington; Jenny Kacani. ’17, art history major, University of Richmond; Dylan Maddox, ’16, art history major, Virginia Commonwealth University; Claire McDonald, ’16, art history and Italian studies double major, University of Richmond; Moriah Webster, ’15, art history major, Randolph-Macon College; and Amy Mei Woo, ’16, art history major, The University of Virginia.

According to Dr. Mitchell Merling of the VMFA, “It was a pure pleasure bringing the art and the students together, and we hope the public takes equal enjoyment in the resulting exhibition, which contains both great works by well-known masters as well as hidden gems by lesser-known but equally able artists, all on this central theme of the horse.”

The exhibition was produced as a collaboration between the University of Richmond Museums and the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond. It is partly funded by the Paul Mellon Endowment at the VMFA and is produced by the VMFA Statewide Traveling Exhibition Services.

Exhibition Programming

Opening Reception: September 1, 5-7 p.m. in the Ridderhof Martin Gallery

Lecture by Dr. Mitchell Merling

September 27, 7 p.m.

Trinkle Hall

Culturespots Audio Guide: Select exhibition labels have been recorded in an innovative audio guide using Culturespots and smartphone technology. We hope that the new audio guide will encourage a greater understanding of the exhibit for our many audiences.

Group tours are available upon request- simply contact Assistant Curator and Exhibition Coordinator, Rachel Hutcheson at to schedule a tour at least 1-2 weeks in advance of your visit.