Co-organized by the Frick in collaboration with four other American museums, this major exhibition presents the full breadth of de Borchgrave’s exploration of historical costume through contemporary paper sculpture. If you’ve never seen the artist’s work, you will be delighted by these breathtaking, life-size renditions of historic clothing created completely from artfully painted, pleated, crumpled, and manipulated paper.
From replicas of Renaissance Italian gowns to recreations of the fantastical modernist costumes of the Ballet Russes, Isabelle de Borchgrave’s work is meticulously crafted and astonishingly beautiful. The artist’s interest in creating paper costumes was sparked by a visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1994, where she found herself inspired by the historic costumes on display. Back in her studio, she began to experiment with creating renditions of the pieces in paper. Since then, de Borchgrave’s paper costumes have been featured in major exhibitions around the world.
This immersive exhibition celebrates the breadth of de Borchgrave’s work with costume and fashion history and is designed to introduce her work to a wider audience. De Borchgrave’s paper sculptures are masterpieces of trompe l’oeil—even upon close inspection it is often difficult to discern that the costumes are made of paper. At the Frick, de Borchgrave’s work will be exhibited throughout the museum, creating a dialogue with the museum’s collection. Joining the exhibition will be the Frick’s recently commissioned piece inspired by one of our best-known masterpieces—Peter Paul Rubens’ Portrait of Charlotte- Marguerite de Montmorency, Princess of Condé.
The exhibition will include examples from all the artist’s major series, beginning with her exploration of 300 years of fashion history in the works created for Papiers à la Mode. The works from her Splendors of the Medici series are inspired by Italian Renaissance costumes portrayed in Old Master paintings. Her next series, The World of Mariano Fortuny explored the work of the iconoclastic Spanish fashion designer, famously based in Venice, and her most recent series, Les Ballet Russes features fantastical modernist costumes designed by artists like Picasso, Bakst, and Matisse. The Frick’s recent commission will be the only new piece included in the exhibition.
Isabelle de Borchgrave: Fashioning Art from Paper has been planned in collaboration with the Dixon Gallery and Gardens, Memphis; the Oklahoma City Museum; the Society of the Four Arts, Palm Beach, Florida; and the Baker Museum, Naples, Florida. A fully illustrated color catalogue accompanies the exhibition.
Image Detail: Inspired by Rubens’ Portrait of Charlotte-Marguerite de Montmorency, Princess of Condé, this gown created by artist Isabelle de Borchgrave is part of a touring exhibition that will be presented at The Frick Art Museum in fall 2018.