In 1838, a prominent critic wrote that Eugène Delacroix (French, 1798–1863) “has a certain restlessness, a certain feverish genius, that impels him to experiment in all sorts of ways…” Indeed, over a 40-year career, this prominent artistic innovator channeled his creativity into works inspired by literature, religion, history, nature, and other themes.
A visit to North Africa in 1832 made an indelible impression on the mid-career artist. Delacroix took in the cities, monuments, and people of Morocco and Algeria through the lens of the Western classical tradition. His paintings inspired by this trip evoke his notion of “living antiquity”—and how he aspired to elevate what he painted beyond the merely descriptive or picturesque, situating his works on the continuum of Western civilization.
Such serious aspirations on the part of the artist aside, Delacroix’s Maghreb-themed paintings contain colorful details that richly evoke the thrill of the unfamiliar and an encounter with “the Other.” His curiosity about all he saw is evident in the many drawings he made during his trip, from doors to trees to men and women spotted in the street.
For the major retrospective Delacroix, on view at The Met Fifth Avenue through January 6, The Met Store team salutes the French master’s visions of North Africa in an exhibition store filled with more than the usual books, postcards, jewelry, and other gifts.
In addition to textiles and jewelry developed exclusively for this exhibition, we have partnered with Imports from Marrakesh, a Moroccan decor company with a showroom in Chelsea Market, to present a range of Morocco-made weavings, slippers, decorative lamps, and other accents for the home.
An evocative finale to a beautiful retrospective, our store provides many ways to remember a major exhibition—and a major artist’s way of seeing the world.
Visit the Delacroix exhibition store in Gallery 899 at The Met Fifth Avenue through January 6, 2019. And shop the online exhibition store at store.metmuseum.org.