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Yale Center for British Art Opens Johan Zoffany RA. Society Observed

Yale Center launches fall season with premiere of Zoffany exhibition that re-evaluates artist – features rarely-seen works

The Yale Center for British Art in New Haven presents Johan Zoffany RA: Society Observed on view October 27, 2011–February 12, 2012.

This fall the Yale Center for British Art will be the first and only US venue for a major retrospective of Johan Zoffany, considered one of the most fascinating and visually captivating artists of the eighteenth century. Opening October 27, Johan Zoffany RA: Society Observed will feature sixty-five oil paintings and a selection of drawings and prints—many of which have rarely or never been exhibited—from public and private collections around the world, including Britain, India, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Australia, and the United States. Incorporating revelatory new research carried out over the past decade in Europe and India, the exhibition will constitute a timely and radical re-evaluation of the extraordinary life and career of this brilliant and enigmatic artist. It is the first exhibition devoted to the artist to be held in the United States and the first in Britain since 1976. Johan Zoffany RA: Society Observed has been organized jointly with the Royal Academy of Arts, London.

Of all the major artists working in eighteenth-century England, none explored more inventively the complexities of Georgian society and British imperial rule than Zoffany. Born near Frankfurt, Zoffany moved to London in 1760. Despite achieving considerable success in England, he remained in many ways an outsider, looking dispassionately at British society. His body of work offers a unique perspective on key British institutions, including the art academy, the Court, the theater, the aristocratic and bourgeois family, and the British Empire.

Johan Zoffany RA: Society Observed has been curated by Martin Postle, Assistant Director for Academic Activities at the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art. The organizing curator at the Yale Center for British Art is Gillian Forrester, Curator of Prints and Drawings. At the Royal Academy the organizing curator is MaryAnne Stevens, Director of Academic Affairs. This exhibition is supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities.

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