Leighton’s Flaming June

Painting of a women in an orange dress in repose

Born in Scarborough, Yorkshire, in 1830, Frederic Leighton was one of the most renowned artists of the Victorian era. He was a painter and sculptor, as well as a formidable presence in the art establishment, serving as a longtime president of the Royal Academy, and he forged an unusual path between academic classicism and the avant-garde. The recipient of many honors during his lifetime, he is the only British artist to have been ennobled, becoming Lord Leighton, Baron of Stretton, in the year of his death. Nevertheless, he left almost no followers, and his impressive oeuvre was largely forgotten in the twentieth century. Leighton’s virtuoso technique, extensive preparatory process, and intellectual subject matter were at odds with the generation of painters raised on Impressionism, with its emphasis on directness of execution. One of his last works, however, Flaming June, an idealized sleeping woman in a semi-transparent saffron gown, went on to enduring fame. From June 9 to September 6, Leighton’s masterpiece will hang at the Frick, on loan from the Museo de Arte de Ponce in Puerto Rico. The exhibition, which is accompanied by a publication and series of public programs, is organized by Susan Grace Galassi, Senior Curator, The Frick Collection. Leighton’s Flaming June is made possible by The Peter Jay Sharp Foundation and Mr. and Mrs. Juan A. Sabater.

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