Why are there so many redheads in the works of Jean-Jacques Henner ? This exhibition will address this frequently-asked question. Paintings, caricatures, writings and letters have been studied to shed new light on the work of this artist whose use of redheads became his signature. They provide a better understanding of the way the artist worked with one colour in particular: red.
Through an enlightening exploration of Henner’s works, the exhibition provides insight on the perception of red hair during the 19th and 20th centuries, without venturing as far back as the Greek-Roman traditions, when, in the words of Michel Pastoureau: “red hair was always viewed unfavorably”. Whether a feature of pride, as it was for Sonia Rykiel, or heroized through the Belgian comic strip character, Spirou, “the mischievious boy with a big heart”, red hair stands out, attracts but also marginalizes. What does it mean to be a redhead? How is red hair portrayed? This exhibition will focus on these questions.