Isabelle de Borchgrave: Fashioning Art from Paper

The Esther B. O’Keeffe Gallery

Isabelle de Borchgrave: Fashioning Art from Paper

Saturday, January 27 through Sunday, April 15, 2018

Five hundred years of fashion are explored in the breathtaking art of Belgian artist Isabelle de Borchgrave. Painting and manipulating mere paper, she creates historic fashions that are trompe l’oeil masterpieces. Each sculpture is inspired by depictions found in early European paintings or fashion collections from around the world. Rarely seen in the U.S., this exhibition presents quintessential examples in the history of fashion—from the Renaissance finery of the Medici family and gowns worn by Queen Elizabeth I, to the creations of the grand couturiers of the 20th century such as Frederick Worth and Paul Poiret.

While de Borchgrave’s work has been seen throughout Europe for more than 20 years, this is the first time American audiences can see her Les Ballet Russe series. In addition, organizing partner Frick Art and Historical Center commissioned de Borchgrave to create a gown inspired by a painting from Peter Paul Rubens, “Portrait of  Charlotte-Marguerite de Montmorency, Princess of Condé,” from ca. 1610.  Both the dress and the original Rubens portrait will be on view at the Four Arts.

Also on display is the Kaftans series which is inspired but the Silk Road textiles of Central Asia. The exhibition also highlights the creations and studio of Mariano Fortuny, the eccentric early 20th-century artist who is both a major source of inspiration to de Borchgrave and a kindred spirit.

  • Open Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday 1 to 5 p.m.
  • Admission is $5 | No charge for Four Arts members and children 14 and younger
  • Please note: Photography is not permitted
  • The Four Arts is located at 2 Four Arts Plaza, Palm Beach, Florida. Directions and free parking are available

Guided tours will be offered on the following dates (included with the price of admission):

  • Wednesday, January 31st at 10:30 a.m.
  • Monday, February 5th at 10:30 a.m.
  • Wednesday, February 14th at 10:30 a.m.
  • SOLD OUT – Wednesday, February 21st at 10:30 a.m.
  • Wednesday, March 7th at 10:30 a.m.
  • Wednesday, March 14 at 10:30 a.m.
  • Wednesday, March 28 at 10:30 a.m.
  • Wednesday, April 4th at 10:30 a.m.

Audio tours are available on mobile devices, accessible at any time at

The exhibition has been 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.

The exhibit is
sponsored by:


Illustrated Lectures:

An Illustrated Lecture with Isabelle de Borchgrave
Saturday, January 27 at 11 a.m.
No charge to attend
Walter S. Gubelmann Auditorium

Artist Isabelle de Borchgrave will make a rare U.S. appearance on opening day of the exhibition “Fashioning Art from Paper.” She will discuss her acclaimed interpretations of historic fashions and her artistic process with Four Arts Vice President and Chief Curator Nancy Mato.


The Artistic Journey of Isabelle de Borchgrave with Guest Curator Denita Swell
Saturday, February 3, 2018 at 11 a.m.
No charge to attend
Walter S. Gubelmann Auditorium

Dennita Sewell, the Jacquie Dorrance curator of fashion design at Phoenix Art Museum in Phoenix, AZ, will discuss “The Artistic Journey of Isabelle de Borchgrave.”

IMAGE CREDITS: Isabelle de Borchgrave, 1946, Belgium.
Top (Left to Right):

Marie de’ Medici (1543-1642), 2006. Inspired by a 1595 portrait by Pietro Facchetti (Italian, 1535/1539-1619) in the collection of the Palazzo Lancellotti, Rome. 74 x 50 x 71 inches.

Day Dress, 1994. Inspired by an 1855 English day dress in the collection of the Kyoto Costume Institute. 151 x 87x 63 cm.

Delphos Dress and Shawl, 2006-7. Inspired by the Delphos dress c. 1920 by Mariano Fortuny (Spanish, active Venice 1871-1949). 58 x 21 ½ x 20 ½ inches.

Worth Evening Gown and Shoe, 1994. Inspired by an 1898 dress designed by Charles Frederick Worth (English, active France, 1825–1895) in the collection of The Costume Institute, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. 59 ⅛ x 27 ⅝ x 59 ⅛ inches.


Elizabeth I Court Dress, 2001. Inspired by a ca. 1599 portrait by the studio of Nicolas Hilliard (English, ca. 1547-1619) at Hardwick Hall, Derbyshire. 65 x 37 ½ x 37 ½ inches.

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