Fine Arts Museums feature two shows

By From page B15 | April 18, 2014

National GalleryThe Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco are pleased to announce two exhibitions showcasing stellar collections from the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC.

“Intimate Impressionism” from the National Gallery of Art, at the Legion of Honor, features the work of 19th century avant-garde painters such as Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Vincent van Gogh.

“Modernism from the National Gallery of Art: The Robert and Jane Meyerhoff Collection,” at the de Young, highlights the great masters of postwar art, including Ellsworth Kelly, Roy Lichtenstein, Robert Rauschenberg, Jasper Johns and Frank Stella.

“We are so pleased to show these superb and distinctive exhibitions of European masterpieces and iconic modern and contemporary American works. ‘Intimate Impressionism’ perfectly complements our collections in the Legion of Honor, and the de Young’s dramatic architecture provides an ideal setting for the distinguished Meyerhoff Collection,” said Colin B. Bailey, director of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.

The National Gallery of Art is in the midst of renovating its East Building galleries, making these presentations in San Francisco possible. These exhibitions are the latest in a rich history of collaboration between the Fine Arts Museums and the National Gallery dating back to the 1940s.

“The National Gallery of Art is delighted to share our masterpieces with the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, providing thousands of visitors an opportunity to experience the Gallery’s celebrated collections,” said Earl A. Powell III, director of the National Gallery of Art.

“Intimate Impressionism,” which runs to Aug. 3 at the Legion of Honor, includes nearly 70 treasured paintings by 19th century avant-garde artists. This exhibition will feature a selection of intimately scaled impressionist and post-impressionist paintings, still lifes, portraits and landscapes, whose charm and fluency invite close scrutiny. These works are among the National Gallery’s most beloved paintings and usually hang in a special sequence of rooms in its East Building.

The show includes significant pictures by Édouard Manet, Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Camille Pissarro, Georges Seurat and Vincent van Gogh.

Many paintings in the exhibition were displayed in domestic interiors and they often became gifts shared among friends.

Most of the works in “Intimate Impressionism” came from the private collections formed by Ailsa Mellon Bruce and Paul Mellon, the two children of gallery founder Andrew Mellon. The efforts of Paul and his wife, “Bunny” Mellon, on behalf of the gallery’s collection cemented its role as one of the world’s leading repositories of French modernist painting.

Ailsa’s collaboration with John Walker — chief curator of the gallery from 1938 to 1956 and then its director until 1969 — resulted in the acquisition of many celebrated masterpieces, including the impressionist and post-impressionist paintings that are at the center of this exhibition.

“Modernism from the National Gallery of Art: The Robert and Jane Meyerhoff Collection,”  which runs from June 7 to Oct. 12 at the de Young, includes nearly 50 works, featuring several by great postwar artists Ellsworth Kelly, Roy Lichtenstein, Robert Rauschenberg, Jasper Johns and Frank Stella.

The de Young is the exclusive venue for this exhibition, the first showing of the Meyerhoff Collection outside the greater Washington, D.C. and Baltimore metro areas.

Among the featured paintings and sculptures are Frank Stella’s “Flin Flon IV,” Jasper Johns’s “Perilous Night” and Roy Lichtenstein’s “Painting with Statue of Liberty.”

The centerpiece of the exhibition is Barnett Newman’s landmark series “The Stations of the Cross,” widely considered to be the artist’s most important work. The latter paintings will be presented within a discrete, chapel-like gallery so that visitors can experience them as the artist intended.

Visit the de Young Museum at 50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, Tuesday through Sunday from 9:30 a.m.-5:15 p.m. The museum is closed most Mondays.

The Legion of Honor is located in Lincoln Park, 34th Avenue and Clement Street in San Francisco, and is open 9:30 a.m.-5:15 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays. It is open select holidays and closed most Mondays.

Tickets for “Intimate Impressionism from the National Gallery of Art” and “Modernism from the National Gallery of Art” are on sale.

Fine Arts

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