Sunday, February 7, 2010

Gogh-ing to the Nelson-Atkins

The Nelson-Atkins Museum in Kansas City -- a gem of a museum with a very fine collection -- just received quite a 75th birthday present: 400 new artworks as gifts from some of its patrons. Among them: a treasure trove of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist pieces donated by Henry and Marion Bloch, longtime friends of the museum (Henry Bloch as in founder of H&R Block). The Bloch donation includes works by Manet, Monet, Cézanne, Degas, and van Gogh. The van Gogh in question is pictured here -- "Restaurant Rispal at Asnières," dating from 1887 and Vincent's Paris period. It is one of a series that van Gogh did at the suburb of Asnières and shows the influence of Divisionism and his friend Paul Signac. This painting was included in the landmark "Van Gogh à Paris" exhibition held at the Musée d'Orsay in 1988.

The Nelson-Atkins already owns two van Goghs: "Head of a Young Peasant" from 1885 and Vincent's time in Nuenen, and "Olive Grove" from 1889 and his time in Saint-Rémy. (The Nelson-Atkins "Olive Grove" is one of my favorites of the olive tree series.) Congratulations to the Nelson-Atkins on 75 years of excellence and on their splendid new acquisitions.

1 comment:

Hels said...

I am fascinated in the collecting process that families go through, before they donate their treasures to a gallery.

The Kansas City Star said that the couple spent 20+ years buying works, with advice from the director of the Nelson. Of particular interest is that Impressionist works became the Blochs' focus.

It's a very fortunate gallery that manages to receive
1. a uniformly good collection
2. in the art area that the gallery is interested in
3. from a family who is prepared to donate their treasures to the gallery and not to their children.

Clearly the Blochs were collecting Impressionist art at a time when the works were affordable. Timing is everything, even for art connoisseurs, isn't it?