Compulsion to Collect

Every great art institution began with its top collectors. The Met in New York would not be the same without the Havermeyers, while the art angels of the Art Institute of Chicago extend from Mrs. Potter Palmer to Henry Field. Although Texas got off to a significantly later start, as much as a century after its New York or Chicago counterparts, it has now resoundingly caught up, as underscored by the Kimbell Art Museum's current blockbuster, now in its final weeks. "From the Private Collections of Texas: European Art, Ancient to Modern" presents the DNA of Texas' major museums, as well as showcasing works from under-known protagonists who have also contributed to our state's collecting mania.
%26nbsp;%26nbsp;%26nbsp;%26nbsp; One hundred-some paintings, sculptures and artifacts are presented, revealing 40 discerning acquirers who often built seminal, world-class museums along the way, encompassing natch the Kimbell, and extending to the McNay, the Nasher, San Antonio Museum of Art, the DMA, The Menil Collection, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the Blanton and decorative arts destination, Rienzi. Nearly half of the works exhibited are currently held in private collections, so are unknown to the public and even scholars. Also included are those once owned by Texans, such as an ancient Greek bronze tripod ornamented with horse heads and sphinxes, bequeathed to The Metropolitan Museum of Art by Dallas collectors who remain anonymous. Ancient and Old Master offerings have their day and Impressionist and Post Impressionist canvases%26nbsp; %26#8212; the glorious Renoir Woman Combing Her Hair, a rare Monet still life, a pair of Monet water lily paintings, a serene lake view by Swiss turn-of-the-century master Ferdinand Hodler (owned by The Barrett Collection, Dallas), which is exquisite in its simplified bands of blue alternating with cream, and a vividly-hued Van Gogh streetscape that is the show's signature image %26#8212; provide a handsome segue to 20th-century modern masterpieces by Leg%26#233;r, Picasso, Arp, Klee, de Chirico, Magritte and Beckmann, capped by the chance to see treasures from the Menil traveling to Fort Worth.%26nbsp;%26nbsp;%26nbsp; %26nbsp;%26nbsp;%26nbsp;
%26nbsp;%26nbsp;%26nbsp;%26nbsp; Assiduously co-curated by UTD's department chair Richard Brettell and the Kimbell's C. D. Dickerson, the exhibition is expansive and packed with surprises such as Lawrence Alma-Tadema's 1876 canvas, Between Hope and Fear, a rare Victorian-era painting set in idealized, classical ancient Greece (culled "from the collection of a Texas lady") and a jazzy 1921/1925 Mondrian from the coffers of tony, unnamed Fort Worth collectors. Make sure to snap up the lavish catalogue, with Brettell's definitive essay, "From Boulevards to Ranch Roads," and extensive notes and provenance on each painting and sculpture, including the splendid Grand Manner Gainsborough portrait, Colonel John Bullock, and a view of its installation in a private home improbably in Tomball, Texas.
%26nbsp;%26nbsp;%26nbsp;%26nbsp; Missing are icons like Hopper and Sargent, and extraordinary patrons such as Ima Hogg, absent due to this show's European emphasis in keeping with the Kimbell's mission, thus presenting a challenge to the Amon Carter to come up with an exhibition that puts an American spin on the intriguing topic of Texas collectors. Shown: Giorgio de Chirico's Hector and Andromeche, 1918, owned by The Menil Collection, Houston. "From the Private Collections of Texas: European Art, Ancient to Modern," hurry, ends March 21; Kimbell Art Museum, 3333 Camp Bowie Boulevard, Fort Worth, 817.332.8451;;

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