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December 4, 2017 to March 18, 2018


The Metropolitan Museum of Art
1000 Fifth Avenue
at 82nd Street
New York  New York  10028
United States
The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Quicksilver Brilliance

Adolf de Meyer (American [born France], 1868–1946). Etienne de Beaumont (detail), ca. 1923. Gelatin silver print, 9 5/16 x 7 5/16 in. (23.7 x 18.6 cm). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Gift of Paul F. Walter, 2008 (2009.460.7)

A member of the "international set" in fin-de-siècle Europe, Baron Adolf de Meyer (1868–1946) was also a pioneering photographer, known for creating works that transformed reality into a beautiful fantasy. Quicksilver Brilliance will be the first museum exhibition devoted to the artist in more than 20 years and the first ever at The Met. Some 40 works, drawn entirely from The Met collection, will demonstrate the impressive breadth of his career.

The exhibition will include dazzling portraits of well-known figures of his time: the American socialite Rita de Acosta Lydig; art patron and designer Count Étienne de Beaumont; aristocrat and society hostess Lady Ottoline Morrell; and celebrated entertainer Josephine Baker, among others. A highlight of the presentation will be an exceptional book—one of only seven known copies—documenting Nijinsky's scandalous 1912 ballet L'Après-midi d'un faune. This rare album represents de Meyer's great success in capturing the movement and choreography of dance, a breakthrough in the history of photography. Also on view will be the artist's early snapshots made in Japan, experiments with color processes, and inventive fashion photographs.