American art collector Chester Dale, who had a passion for late 19th and early 20th Century Avant Garde painting (a phrase that, of course, refers to different artists at different times) left a bequest to the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC that includes 85 works from French and American artists.
The museum has mounted an exhibition of highlights from the collection, From Impressionism to Modernism: The Chester Dale Collection, that features outstanding works by Corot, Van Gogh, Picasso, Leger, Matiesse, Renoir, Cassatt, Manet, Toulouse-Lautrec and and many others.
Dale served on the board of the National Gallery from 1943 on, and was president until his death in 1962. He was a well known collector while many of these artists were active, and the exhibition includes portraits of him by Salvador Dalí and Diego Rivera, as well as portraits of his wife, Maud, by George Bellows and Fernand Léger.
I haven’t see this show yet, but I’ve seen many of the pieces listed as part of the permanent collection over the years, and it should be a very strong show, even if your interest, like mine, is more focused on one end of the collection’s time frame.
The National Gallery, if you haven’t had the pleasure of visiting, is one of the best art museums in the U.S.; and one of the highlights of Washington’s cornucopia of cultural treasures (almost all of which have free admission, see my post on The National Portrait Gallery).
To my mind, the exhibition would be worth the visit just for William Merritt Chase’s beautiful A Friendly Call (image above, top).
There is a slideshow of highlights on the museum’s site, along with a PDF version of the exhibition brochure (PDF link).
From Impressionism to Modernism: The Chester Dale Collection is on display until July 31, 2011.
(Images above: William Merritt Chase, Henri Fantin-Latour, Claude Monet, Edgar Degas, Amedeo Modigliani, Eugéne Boudin)
Slideshow and exhibition brochure (PDF link)