The Cult of Beauty: The Victorian Avant-Garde (1860–1900) is the first major exhibition to explore the unconventional creativity of the British Aesthetic Movement, tracing the evolution of this movement from a small circle of progressive artists and poets, through the achievements of innovative painters and architects, to its broad impact on fashion and the middle-class home.
The superb artworks on view encompass the manifold forms of Victorian material culture: the traditional high art of painting, fashionable trends in architecture and interior decoration, handmade and manufactured furnishings for the “artistic” home, art photography and the new modes of dress.
The Cult of Beauty showcases the entirety of the Aesthetic Movement’s output, celebrating the startling beauty and variety of creations by masters as diverse as artists Dante Gabriel Rossetti, James McNeill Whistler, and Edward Burne-Jones and designers E.W. Godwin, William Morris and Christopher Dresser. The Legion of Honor is the only U.S. venue on the world tour that includes the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and the Musée d’Orsay in Paris.