A Contemporary Art Ode to the Symbolists and Gustave Moreau

Les Fleurs du Mal, a new exhibition at New York’s Nahmad Contemporary, named after Charles Baudelaire’s literary ode to decadence and eroticism, features the works of 19th-century Symbolist Gustave Moreau alongside modern artists — including Balthus, Marc Chagall, Salvador Dalí, and Henri Matisse — as well as contemporary artists (George Condo, John Currin, Wade Guyton, Damien Hirst, Elizabeth Peyton, and Richard Prince). This is the first time that Moreau is being presented in a contemporary context.

Moreau was a pivotal figure in the development of Modernism, having taught contemporaries like Matisse, Georges Rouault, and Léon Printemps during his tenure at Paris’ École des Beaux-Arts. With an emphasis on spirituality, the uncanny, and the subconscious, Moreau’s paintings drew on a sense of emotionality and the viewer’s individual connection with the work. Baudelaire’s influence on the Symbolist movement ties Moreau to these modern masters and contemporary artists, who have taken Moreau’s meditations in an exciting new direction.

Les Fleurs du Mal is on view through April 9. Click through to see a selection of images from the show.