Isabelle de Borchgrave: Fashioning Art from Paper

Isabelle de Borchgrave: Fashioning Art from Paper features the life-size, trompe l’œil paper costumes of Belgian artist Isabelle de Borchgrave (born 1946). Following a visit to the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum in 1994, de Borchgrave began working in the new medium, creating trompe l’œil paper works in what eventually would become four major paper fashion collections. The first, Papiers à la Mode (Paper in Fashion), takes a fresh look at three hundred years of fashion history from Elizabeth I to Coco Chanel. The World of Mariano Fortuny immerses museum goers in the elegant world of twentieth-century Venice. Splendor of the Medici leads visitors through the streets of Florence, where they come across famous figures in their sumptuous ceremonial dress. And in Les Ballets Russes, de Borchgrave pays tribute to Serge de Diaghilev, Pablo Picasso, Léon Bakst, and Henri Matisse, who all designed for this extraordinary ballet company. 

For this exhibition, all four collections will be presented together, for the first time, in a survey of de Borchgrave’s innovative work. Along with these pieces, a series of kaftans highlighting Silk Road textiles will be included, as well as a newly commissioned costume inspired by a painting by Peter Paul Rubens, Portrait of Charlotte-Marguerite de Montmorency, Princess of Condé, c. 1610. Both the original costume and the Rubens portrait will be included in the exhibition.

This exhibition is organized by Dixon Gallery and Gardens, Society of the Four Arts, Oklahoma City Museum of Art, Frick Art and Historical Center, and Artis—Naples, the Baker Museum.


Image Credit: Isabelle de Borchgrave, Mantua, 2011, based on a ca. 1750 court mantua in the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. Photo: Andreas von Einsiedel;Isabelle de Borchgrave, Cosimo I de’ Medici, 2007, based on a portrait by Ludovico Cardi in the collection of the Palazzo Medici Riccardi, Florence. Photo: Andreas von Einsiedel;Isabelle de Borchgrave, Maria-Maddalena d’Austria, 2007, based on a 1622 portrait of Maria-Maddalena with her son Ferdinand II by Justus Sustermans in the collection of the Flint Institute of Arts, Flint, Michigan. Photo: Andreas von Einsiedel;Isabelle de Borchgrave, Marie de’ Medici, 2006, based on a 1595 portrait by Pietro Facchetti in the collection of the Palazzo Lancellotti, Rome. Photo: Andreas von Einsiedel;Isabelle de Borchgrave, Lorenzo il Magnifico, 2007, based on the painting Journey of the Magi by Benozzo Gozzoli in the Medici Chapel in the Palazzo Medici Riccardi, Florence. Photo: Andreas von Einsiedel;Isabelle de Borchgrave, Anna de’ Medici, 2006, based on a 1622 portrait by Justus Sustermans in the collection of the Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence. Photo: Andreas von Einsiedel;Isabelle de Borchgrave, Bianca (Bia) de’ Medici, 2006, based on a ca. 1542 portrait by Agnolo Bronzino in the collection of the Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence. Photo: Andreas von Einsiedel;Isabelle de Borchgrave, Pallas, 2007, based on the ca. 1482 painting Pallas and the Centaur by Sandro Botticelli in the collection of the Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence. Photo: Andreas von Einsiedel;Isabelle de Borchgrave, Flora, 2006, based on the ca. 1481-82 painting La Primavera by Sandro Botticelli in the collection of the Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence. Photo: Andreas von Einsiedel