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Exposition des primitifs français

The Exposition des primitifs français was an exhibition of French medieval and early Renaissance art held at the Palais du Louvre (Pavillon de Marsan) and the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris between April 12 and July 14, 1904. The exhibition had over seven hundred paintings, drawings, enamels, sculptures, and manuscripts that had been assembled from both French and international private and public collections. The exhibition’s thesis held that the French School of so-called primitive art, particularly paintings, constituted an important artistic movement between High Gothic sculpture and architecture and the emergence of the so-called Golden Age of French painting in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The exhibition was organized partly in response to the Flemish thesis of artistic supremacy made at the 1902 Exposition des primitifs flamands at Bruges. The French exhibition held that French primitive art equaled contemporary Flemish and Italian early Renaissance art and represented a national school equally deserving of academic consideration.

Georges Lafenestre, L’exposition des primitifs français (Paris: Gazette des Beaux-Arts, 1904).