Melania Trump and Brigitte Macron Enjoy Quality Time With Cézanne at the National Gallery of Art
The two browsed the exhibition ahead of a state dinner with an art-world-heavy guest list.
During the first French state visit to the US during Donald Trump’s presidency, the First Lady and her French counterpart Brigitte Macron took time out from Donald and Emmanuel’s political bromance to take in the Paul Cézanne show at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC.
According to an official statement from the White House, yesterday’s tour emphasized the work of a French artist “to complement the longstanding friendship between the United States and France.” The White House added that “spousal events” are a tradition of state visits.
The tour took place ahead of a sumptuous state dinner, where a number of art-world luminaries were in attendance. The guest list included the French art dealer Emmanuel Perrotin; luxury goods magnate Bernard Arnault and his wife Hélène; collector Henry Kravis and MoMA board president Marie-Josée Kravis; Neue Galerie founder Ronald Lauder and his wife Jo Carole Lauder; and Laurence des Cars, the director of Paris’s Musée d’Orsay.
On Instagram, Melania Trump posted a snap of the pair admiring Cézanne’s The Artist’s Father, Reading L’Événement (1866) with the gallery’s curator of French paintings, Mary Morton, and deputy director Franklin Kelly. Morton co-organized the show with John Elderfield, MoMA’s chief curator emeritus of painting and sculpture, and Xavier Rey, the director of the Musées de Marseille.
In a further statement from the White House, Trump called the works “breathtaking,” adding, “Everyone understands the language of art.”
The exhibition, “Cézanne Portraits,” brings together around 60 post-Impressionist paintings ranging from self-portraits to portraits of friends and working-class people in the artist’s native Aix-en-Provence. It is on view at the National Gallery of Art through July 1.
The exhibition has previously been on view at Paris’s Musée D’Orsay and London’s National Portrait Gallery, which co-organized the exhibition. Some paintings in the show are exclusive to the US presentation; others have never before been shown in the country.
According to the White House, the pair also visited work by Mary Cassatt, the American Impressionist who worked in Paris in the 19th century, and the United States’ only work by Leonardo da Vinci, the Ginevra de’ Benci.
This is not the first time FLOTUS has visited a museum with a foreign dignitary. Trump stopped by the Flagler Museum in Florida last week with Akie Abe, the wife of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. “It was a treat to step back in time with Mrs Abe and admire the beauty of Whitehall,” the First Lady wrote on Instagram.
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