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The Met’s exibition Impressionism, Fashion, and Modernity presents a revealing look at the role of fashion in the works of the Impressionists and their contemporaries. Some eighty major figure paintings, seen in concert with period costumes, accessories, fashion plates, photographs, and popular prints, highlight the vital relationship between fashion and art during the pivotal years, from the mid-1860s to the mid-1880s, when Paris emerged as the style capital of the world. With the rise of the department store, the advent of ready-made wear, and the proliferation of fashion magazines, those at the forefront of the avant-garde—from Manet, Monet, and Renoir to Baudelaire, Mallarmé, and Zola—turned a fresh eye to contemporary dress, embracing la mode as the harbinger of la modernité. The novelty, vibrancy, and fleeting allure of the latest trends in fashion proved seductive for a generation of artists and writers who sought to give expression to the pulse of modern life in all its nuanced richness.

2-27-2013 8-39-01 PMMonet’s “Luncheon on the Grass” and a white cotton pique dress show links between 19th-century art and fashion in “Impressionism, Fashion and Modernity,” a new exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

2-28-2013 3-38-42 PM Day Dress

2-27-2013 8-41-23 PMRoberta Smith calls the exhibition, which includes a display of American corsets, a “thrilling, erudite show.

2-27-2013 8-41-55 PMRenoir’s “Lise (Woman With Umbrella),” from 1867, is reflected in a vitrine in the white-dress room.

2-27-2013 8-42-30 PMGustave Caillebotte’s “Paris Street: Rainy Day” (1877) and a dress by the House of Worth.

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 Paris Street, Rainy Day by Gustave Caillebotte

2-27-2013 8-42-51 PM Bustles on dresses in one gallery.

2-27-2013 8-43-14 PMFantin-Latour’s three-quarter portrait of Manet, far left, in the one gallery devoted to male attire.

2-27-2013 8-43-40 PMAlbert Bartholomé’s 1881 “In the Conservatory (Mme. Bartholomé),” the only painting to be shown with the actual garment it portrays.

2-28-2013 3-39-28 PMWoman In the Conservatory (Mme. Bartholomé)

2-27-2013 8-44-02 PMFrom left, Monet’s “Camille,” Manet’s “Young Lady in 1866” and Monet’s “Madame Louis Joachim Gaudibert.”

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 Camille by Monet

2-27-2013 8-44-29 PMWorks like “The Parisienne,” by Manet, exemplify how black became emblematic of urban sophistication.

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 The Parisienne by Manet

2-27-2013 8-44-51 PM“Impressionism, Fashion and Modernity” will be on view to the public from Feb 26 through May 27 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. NYC

Credit: Suzanne DeChillo/The New York Times