Wednesday, July 24, 2013

19th-Century Masterworks: Ingres, David, Gericault, Delacroix, Rosetti, Blake,

Two hundred nineteen works by leading 19th-century American, British, and French artists from the legendary collection formed by Grenville L. Winthop (1864-1943) went on display at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on October 23, 2003. The exhibition, which marked the first time the collection has traveled since its bequest to Harvard in 1943, featured paintings, drawings, and sculptures by more than 50 artists, including William Blake, Edward Burne-Jones, Jacques-Louis David, Eugène Delacroix, Théodore Géricault, Winslow Homer, Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, Gustave Moreau, Camille Pissarro, Auguste Renoir, Auguste Rodin, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, John Singer Sargent, and James Abbott McNeill Whistler. A Private Passion: 19th-Century Paintings and Drawings from the Grenville L. Winthrop Collection, Harvard University remained on view at the Metropolitan through January 25, 2004.

The exhibition was organized by the Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, in collaboration with Ville de Lyon, Musée des Beaux-Arts and Réunion des musées nationaux, the National Gallery, London, and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

In 1943 Grenville Lindall Winthrop bequeathed his entire collection of more than 4,000 works of art to his alma mater, Harvard College. During his life, he almost never lent objects from his collection to museums, and in keeping with his wishes, the works have always been at Harvard, available to students and scholars, rather than on loan to other institutions.

Over the course of four and a half decades, Winthrop assembled objects from almost every culture and historical period. In particular, no other collector could claim the depth of Winthrop's reach in both French and British art together. Rather than purchase already-formed collections of drawings, Winthrop was a pioneer in establishing a collection of works on paper, piece by piece.

Winthrop acquired more works by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres than any other private collector of his day. The exhibition at the Metropolitan included 34 of Winthrop's Ingres, including

Raphael and the Fornarina (1814)

and Odalisque with the Slave (ca. 1837-40), as well as a number of drawn and painted portraits.

Other important French works included

Jacques-Louis David's 1817 portrait of his friend and fellow revolutionary

Emmanuel Joseph Sieyès,

and sketchbooks containing more than 100 studies for David's monumental

Coronation of Napoleon I (Le Sacre).

Works by the French Romantic painters included

Théodore Géricault's

Cattle Market (1817)

and Postillion at the Door of an Inn (1822-23)

and Eugène Delacroix's A Turk Surrenders to a Greek Horseman (1856).

In addition to paintings by many of the leading French Impressionists and Post-Impressionists, the exhibition featured eleven sculptures by Auguste Rodin,

Dante Gabriel Rossetti's The Blessed Damozel (1871-78)

and a selection of Edward Burne-Jones's watercolors, Days of Creation (1875-76),

were among the important group of paintings and drawings by the British Pre-Raphaelites.

Winthrop assembled one of the finest collections of works by William Blake, represented here by one of artist's rare oil paintings,

Christ Blessing (ca. 1810),

Thy Sons and Thy Daughters Were Eating and Drinking Wine, (1821)

as well as by pages from his celebrated Book of Job (1821).

A great admirer of the progressive artists of 19th-century America, Winthrop owned a group of watercolors by Winslow Homer that included

Mink Pond (1891)

and Adirondack Lake (1892).

The expatriate American artists John Singer Sargent and James Abbott McNeill Whistler were represented in his collection as well; the former by five pictures, the latter by eight, including a shimmering

Nocturne in Blue and Silver (ca. 1871-72).

A Private Passion debuted at the Musée des Beaux-Arts, Lyon, in the spring of 2003. It then traveled to the National Gallery, London, before its appearance at the Metropolitan Museum.

The exhibition was organized by an international committee of curators coordinated by Stephan Wolohojian, Curator of Paintings, Sculpture, and Decorative Arts, Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University Art Museums. The exhibition will be installed at the Metropolitan by Gary Tinterow, Engelhard Curator of 19th-Century European Painting, with the assistance of Rebecca A. Rabinow, Assistant Research Curator.

Stephan Wolohojian edited the fully illustrated catalogue, which contains contributions by more than 60 specialists. The catalogue was published by The Metropolitan Museum of Art and distributed by Yale University Press.

Excellent Review with more images:


"Café-Concert (À la Gaîté Rochechouart)," by George Pierre Seurat, conté crayon and white gouache on buff laid paper, 12 1/8 by 9 ¼ inches, 1887-8