This is the catalogue of a major exhibition held at the Musee D'Orsay, Paris in the spring of 2002 which was designed to evoke a practice of the past: portraying a deceased person, on their deathbed of in their coffin. This "last portrait" - death mask, painting, drawing or photograph - remained in the narrow circle of relatives and friends, but, in the case of famous personalities, it could be widely circulated in public.
The exhibition sought to show the crucial part these pictures played in the mourning process and the building of memory, feeding in particular on recent developments in the history of mentalities. Beyond the taboos still encountered, they also induce a contemporary resonance. It featured the work of diverse artists including Monet, Seurat, Nadar and Man Ray, representing post mortem such famous people as Napoleon, Géricault, Gambetta, Hugo, Proust, down to Jean Cocteau and Edith Piaf.
This catalogue features a series of essays in French, accompanied by reproductions of works from the exhibition.
Small tear to back cover.