From March 17 to July 8, three paintings by Vincent Van Gogh will be featured in “Van Gogh, Monet, Degas: The Mellon Collection of French Art from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts” at The Frick Pittsburgh. The exhibition will dazzle audiences with masterpieces from every important school of French art from Romanticism through the School of Paris. A number of works included in the exhibition were only recently given to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and have not been seen publicly for a generation.
The exhibition “Van Gogh, Monet, Degas: The Mellon Collection of French Art from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts” will feature more than 70 masterpieces collected by Pittsburgh-born collector and philanthropist, Paul Mellon (1907-1999), beginning in spring 2018.
The Frick will be the first of a select group of museums to present this touring exhibition, which includes three works by Vincent Van Gogh (1853–1890): “The Laundry Boat on the Seine at Asnières” (1887), “Daisies, Arles” (1888), and “The Wheat Field behind St. Paul’s Hospital, St. Rémy” (1889). Claude Monet (1840-1926) is represented by four works in the show, including a large, late work capturing the dazzling irises in his garden at Giverny, and 10 works by Degas (1834-1917) are featured—including the artist’s most famous sculpture, “The Little Dancer”.
Covering more than 150 years of French art, the exhibition includes a beautiful and intimate group of Impressionist paintings by Édouard Manet (1882-1883), Pierre August Renoir (1841-1919), Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864-1901), Alfred Sisley (1839-1899), and Camille Pissarro (1830–1903), as well as iconic works by Romantic masters Théodore Géricault (1791-1824) and Eugène Delacroix (1798-1863) and the Post-Impressionist and modernist work of Henri Matisse (1869-1954), Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) and Pierre Bonnard (1867-1947).
In addition to the aforementioned artists, nearly all of the great names associated with French art of the 19th-and early-20th-century are represented in this exhibition, including Paul Cézanne (1939-1906), Gustave Courbet (1819-1877), Paul Gauguin (1848-1903), Berthe Morisot (1841-1895), and Georges Seurat (1859–1891), among many others.
Renowned as one of the great collectors and philanthropists of the 20th century, Paul Mellon’s lifelong love of art resulted in extraordinary gifts to three institutions he held dear: the National Gallery of Art, Yale University, and the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. Mellon served as a Trustee of the Virginia Museum for an unprecedented 41 years, from 1939-1979, and in 1985 was instrumental in the construction of a new wing to house his collection of British, American and French sporting art and works by French artists of the Romantic, Impressionist and Post-Impressionist periods.
Paul Mellon was the son of Henry Clay Frick’s close friend and colleague, Andrew Mellon (1855-1937). Both Frick and Andrew Mellon became known for their legacies as art collectors, the roots of which were formed when they traveled to Europe together in 1880. Paul Mellon grew up in this milieu of collecting and philanthropy and was an avid collector throughout his life.