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News: Art History and Blue Jeans

masterofthebluejeansFor something so everyday, so common, so fashionable, it’s a wonder that historians still haven’t figured out quite where the common denim blue jean comes from. Well now, where fashion historian have failed, it seems art historians may have succeeded in the discovering of a 17th-century northern Italian artist dubbed the “Master of the Blue Jeans.”
Unsurprisingly, the running theme throughout the works of the master is the appearance of a heavy, blue material with white thread seen used in the construction of peasant skirts and jackets. “The works are very attached to the detail of clothing — it was very rare for a painter to characterise the poor with such detail,” said curator Gerlinde Gruber, who helped to identify the anonymous artist’s works. “And there is blue jean in every painting except one,” she said.
Though blue jeans and Americana go hand in hand with apple pie, the source for the original blue jeans have often been traced back to the French city of Nimes, “de Nimes”, hence “denim” and a cotton fustian from Genoa in Italy, “Genes” in French, becoming “Jeans” in English.
An exhibition of the eight paintings attributed to the master, along with works by contemporaries that also show figures wearing jean material is on display now through November 6th at the Galerie Canesso with the support of jean makers Francois and Marithe Girbaud. The show is curated by Vienna’s Gerlinde Gruber of the Kunsthistorisches Museum
Galerie Canesso
26, rue Laffitte, 75009 Paris, France – 33 1 40 22 61 71

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