The High recently acquired four new works for its permanent collection, including the pastel “Mother and Child,” by Mary Cassatt; the oil painting “Snowscape with Cows, Montfoucault,” by Camille Pissarro; the oil painting “The Breakfast,” by Pierre Bonnard; and the painting on paper “Villa les Écluses, St. Jacut, Brittany,” by Édouard Vuillard. The new acquisitions were purchased from the estate of longtime Atlanta resident Kathryn Welch Hartzog. The purchases were made possible by the Forward Arts Foundation, the Robert D. Fowler Family, Helen C. Griffith and Joan N. Whitcomb. The Forward Arts Foundation, a special friend of the High for over 40 years, has donated the funds to help the Museum acquire most of its Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings.
“The acquisition of these four major works makes the Museum’s holdings of French Impressionist and Post-Impressionist artists one of the most important in the Southeast,” commented David Brenneman, the High’s Director of Collections and Exhibitions and Frances. B. Bunzl Family Curator of European art. In addition to paintings by Monet and Bazille and prints and drawings by Toulouse-Lautrec and Degas already in the permanent collection, the High now possesses two pastels and one oil painting by Cassatt; three paintings and one print by Pissarro; one painting, three drawings and three prints by Vuillard; and one painting and three prints by Bonnard.
Beginning on Mother’s Day, Sunday, May 11, and running through August 17, the four new works will be on view at the High as part of a special permanent collection installation of eight works titled “Cassatt, Pissarro, Bonnard, Vuillard: New Acquisitions for the Collection.” The four new works will be joined by another Cassatt pastel, which was gifted by Jacqueline and Matt Friedlander in 2005; a Cassatt oil painting; and two Vuillard pastels, which were given by Mrs. Hartzog in 1992.
Mary Cassatt, “Mother and Child,” 1909–1914
Mary Cassatt (American, 1844–1926) was considered one of the greatest painters of mothers and their children. In “Mother and Child,” Mary Cassatt’s modern interpretation of the Madonna and Child theme captures the intimacy of the relationship between mother and child. Cassatt often used the soft and delicate medium of pastel—which she adopted, at least in part, because of her friendship with Edgar Degas—to render her depictions of domestic interiors and family life. Cassatt’s bold, sketchy application of brilliant colors heightens the effect of a tender moment and results in her warm, affectionate portraits of mothers and children. “Mother and Child” was purchased with funds from The Forward Arts Foundation and the Robert D. Fowler Family.
Camille Pissarro, “Snowscape with Cows, Montfoucault,” 1874
Camille Pissarro (French, 1830–1903) is perhaps best known for his paintings of rural landscapes. The scene in “Snowscape with Cows, Montfoucault” depicts the home of fellow painter Ludovic Piette and is one of several snow scenes Pissarro painted during the winter of 1874. Pissarro’s limited palette and broad, painterly brushwork suggest not only the influence of Pissarro’s predecessor, Gustave Courbet, but also the influence of Paul Cézanne, with whom Pissarro worked closely during the 1870s. “Snowscape with Cows, Montfoucault” was purchased with funds from Helen C. Griffith to honor Robert Sherrill Griffith, Jr., and from Joan N. Whitcomb in memory of Taylor Stuckey.
Pierre Bonnard, “The Breakfast,” 1922
During the 1880s and 1890s, Pierre Bonnard (French, 1867–1947) was a leading member of the Nabis, a group of Post-Impressionist artists. An example of an intimiste painting—a scene depicting everyday life in a domestic interior—“The Breakfast” displays Bonnard’s approach to painting: an exquisite sense of color—highlighted here by the artist’s use of pinks and purples—and the unusual cropping of the figure. “The Breakfast” was purchased with funds from Alfred Austell Thornton in memory of Leila Austell Thornton and Albert Edward Thornton, Sr. and from Sarah Miller Venable and William Hoyt Venable.
Édouard Vuillard, “Villa les Écluses, St. Jacut, Brittany,” ca. 1908
While vacationing in Brittany during the summers of 1908 and 1909, Édouard Vuillard (French, 1868–1940) produced a number of landscapes, including “Villa les Écluses, St. Jacut, Brittany.” This painting is a noteworthy example of Vuillard’s free experimentation with new media and techniques, particularly in the use of peinture à la colle—pigment bound with animal-based glue. His unusual choice of medium emphasizes the paper’s surface texture and accentuates the composition’s flat shapes and silhouettes. “Villa les Écluses, St. Jacut, Brittany” was purchased with general acquisitions funds.
European Collection at the High
In 1958 the High received a donation of twenty-nine Renaissance and Baroque paintings and sculptures from the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, establishing the core of the Museum’s European art collection, which today includes nearly 700 works. Highlights of the Kress gift are Giovanni Bellini’s “Madonna and Child,” Tommaso del Massa’s “Madonna and Child with Six Saints” and Giovanni Battista Tiepolo’s “Roman Matron’s Making Offerings to Juno.” In later decades, the High acquired important late nineteenth-century French paintings by such masters as Claude Monet, Camille Pissarro and Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot. More recently, the sculpture and works-on-paper holdings have been strengthened through acquisitions of works by artists ranging from Albrecht Dürer to Antoine-Louis Barye and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec.
High Museum of Art
The High Museum of Art, founded in 1905 as the Atlanta Art Association, is the leading art museum in the southeastern United States. With more than 11,000 works of art in its permanent collection, the High Museum of Art has an extensive anthology of 19th- and 20th-century American and decorative art; significant holdings of European paintings; a growing collection of African American art; and burgeoning collections of modern and contemporary art, photography and African art. The High is also dedicated to supporting and collecting works by Southern artists and is distinguished as the only major museum in North America to have a curatorial department specifically devoted to the field of folk and self-taught art. The High’s Media Arts department produces acclaimed annual film series and festivals of foreign, independent and classic cinema. In November 2005, the High opened three new buildings by architect Renzo Piano that more than doubled the Museum’s size, creating a vibrant “village for the arts” at the Woodruff Arts Center in midtown Atlanta. For more information about the High, please visit www.High.org.
The Woodruff Arts Center
The Woodruff Arts Center is the largest arts center in the Southeast as well as one of the four largest in the nation. The Woodruff is unique in that it combines five visual and performing-arts divisions on one campus as one not-for-profit organization. Opened in 1968, the Woodruff Arts Center is home to the Alliance Theatre, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, the High Museum of Art, Young Audiences and the 14th Street Playhouse.