Breathtaking masterpieces, celebrating more than 500 years of fashion history and re-created in meticulously detailed accuracy by celebrated contemporary Belgian artist Isabelle de Borchgrave, will be showcased when Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute Museum of Art presents “Isabelle de Borchgrave: Fashioning Art from Paper,” on view June 14, 2020 through January 3, 2021.

De Borchgrave, a painter by training, is one of today’s most creative European artists. Using only paper and hand painting to dazzling effect, she constructs life-sized garments depicted in early European paintings and collections—from the Renaissance finery of the Medici family and gowns worn by Queen Elizabeth I to the lavish vestments of the grand courtiers of the 19th and 20th centuries. Her works have been shown internationally, and MWPAI is the only northeast American venue for this extended tour.

”Isabelle’s works have amazed audiences all over the world and we are honored and excited to be able to present these extraordinary works of art for our community,” said MWPAI President and CEO Anna D’Ambrosio.

This multimedia exhibition of nearly 100 intricately detailed artworks—from ornate ball gowns to men’s attire to children’s outfits—will relive elements of history including the Italian Renaissance in Florence, the magic of Russia’s famed Ballets Russes, and the Ottoman Empire. The exhibition is international in scope and is a perfect combination of fashion, history, contemporary art, and seemingly impossible technique.

“Isabelle de Borchgrave: Fashioning Art from Paper” celebrates de Borchgrave’s most noted bodies of work, including “Les Ballets Russes,” featuring de Borchgrave’s

interpretations of costumes designed by Léon Bakst, Giorgio de Chirico, Pablo Picasso, and others. “Papiers à la Mode,” featuring de Borchgrave reimagined iconic garments from world history, including dresses worn by Madame de Pompadour, Marie-Antoinette, Elizabeth I, and Empress Eugenie. “The World of Mariano Fortuny,” includes interpretations of the great master painter and designer’s iconic Grecian-styled dresses and tunics from the early 20th century, while Kaftans highlights Silk Road textiles. The “Splendor of the Medici,” series capture the astounding luxuriousness that characterizes this extraordinary era of intellectual, scientific, literary, and artistic accomplishments.

During the run of the exhibition, the MWPAI Museum Education Department will produce a broad range of programs including children’s crafts and family events, illustrated presentations, food-themed evenings, special tours, musical performances, a multi-cultural fashion show, and demonstrations to extend further interpretive opportunities offered by the exhibition. The MWPAI School of Art Community Arts Education program will offer special classes and workshops in fashion design and other related areas; MWPAI offers need-based scholarships.

The MWPAI Film Series will program a special selection of films showcasing historic fashions. Films will be accompanied by discussions or programs that illuminate the connection between the images in the films and the artworks in the exhibition.


Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute creates transformational arts experiences that cultivate curiosity and creativity, enlighten, educate, and inspire.

With more than 12,000 pieces in its permanent art collection, concerts, community classes and the PrattMWP College of Art and Design, Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute is the cultural heart of Central New York.

To submit news for our Member News section of our website and to be included in our weekly Member Mentions email, please send a press release, logo and any relevant photos to officeadmin (at) PLEASE NOTE: Any news sent by Friday will be included in the following Wednesday’s Member Mentions. We will include one mention per member per week.  Thanks for your understanding!
If you’re not on our mailing list or receiving Member Mentions, please click here to sign up.