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Way to Gogh

Alison Hokanson, Assistant Curator, Department of European Paintings

Posted: Friday, August 8, 2014

European Paintings Gallery 826

Gallery 826 in European Paintings

«For the first time in recent memory, all seventeen of the Met's paintings by Vincent van Gogh—the largest collection of the artist's work on this side of the Atlantic—are in house and on view in galleries 823826, and 961. Visitors can enjoy a full range of highlights from the artist's prolific years in France, from portraits to still lifes to landscapes. These masterpieces are often committed to exhibitions around the world, making this a not-to-be-missed occasion.»

Summer has also brought a rich assortment of temporary loans from private collections to the nineteenth-century galleries. Paul Gauguin's self-portrait of circa 1894, described by a contemporary as resembling "a sumptuous, gigantic Magyar, or … Rembrandt in 1635," joins the self-portrait of his colleague Van Gogh in a straw hat in gallery 826. In gallery 825 next door, Paul Cézanne's striking portrait of his friend and patron Victor Chocquet hangs next to the artist's painting of his wife, Hortense, in the conservatory.

Composite image of two Monet paintings

Left: Claude Monet (French, 1840–1926). Regatta at Sainte-Adresse, 1867. Oil on canvas. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Bequest of William Church Osborn, 1951 (51.30.4). Right: Claude Monet (French, 1840–1926). Garden at Sainte-Adresse, 1867. Oil on canvas. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Purchase, special contributions and funds given or bequeathed by friends of the Museum, 1967 (67.241)

A respite from sweltering subway platforms and crowded sidewalks is on offer in gallery 818—dedicated to early works by Claude Monet—with an installation of scenes painted at the seaside resort of Sainte-Adresse during the summer of 1867. On display are the Met's Regatta at Sainte-Adresse and Garden at Sainte-Adresse, along with Adolphe Monet (1800–1871) Reading in a Garden, lent by Lawrence J. Ellison. All three pictures feature Monet's father, posing amid the rocky beaches, sunstruck promenades, and flowering gardens of France's northern coast.

Claude Monet (French, 1840–1926). Adolphe Monet (1800–1871) Reading in a Garden, 1867. Oil on canvas. Lent by Lawrence J. Ellison

Claude Monet (French, 1840–1926). Adolphe Monet (1800–1871) Reading in a Garden, 1867. Oil on canvas. Lent by Lawrence J. Ellison

In gallery 829, recent additions illuminate the shared styles and themes that animated cutting-edge art across Europe at the turn of the twentieth century. The recently acquired The Dream of the Shepherd (Der Traum des Hirten) by Swiss painter Ferdinand Hodler is in good company with exuberant canvases by the little-known Vienna Secessionists Otto Friedrich and Bertold Löffler, lent by the Hearn Family Trust; and with two moody interior scenes by the Norwegian Edvard Munch, Night in Saint-Cloud and Cypress in Moonlight, lent by a private collection. Works by Gustav Klimt, Maurice Denis, and Odilon Redon from the Met's permanent collection round out the presentation.

Gallery 829

Gallery 829 in Modern and Contemporary Art. Left: Otto Friedrich (Austrian, 1862–1937). Scherzo, 1913. Tempera on canvas. Lent by the Hearn Family Trust. Center: Ferdinand Hodler (Swiss, 1853–1918). The Dream of the Shepherd (Der Traum des Hirten), 1896. Oil on canvas. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Purchase, European Paintings Funds, Lila Acheson Wallace Gift, Catharine Lorillard Wolfe Collection, Wolfe Fund, Charles and Jessie Price Gift, funds from various donors, and Bequests of Collis P. Huntington and Isaac D. Fletcher, by exchange, 2013 (2013.1134). Right: Maurice Denis (French, 1870–1943). Springtime, ca. 1894–99. Oil on canvas. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Gift of David Allen Devrishian, 1999 (1999.180.2a,b)

A dashing duo may be seen in gallery 804: Jean-Léon Gérôme's Bashi-Bazouk, a partial and promised gift of Kenneth Jay Lane, hangs next to another painting of the same title by Gérôme, which is a recent gift to the Museum by Jayne Wrightsman. Exquisitely rendered, they vary in every detail but one—the extraordinary textile headpiece the artist liked so much that he had to paint it twice.

Composite of two works by Gérôme

Left: Jean‑Léon Gérôme (French, 1824–1904). Bashi‑Bazouk, 1868–69. Oil on canvas. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Gift of Mrs. Charles Wrightsman, 2008 (2008.547.1). Right: Jean‑Léon Gérôme (French, 1824–1904). Bashi‑Bazouk, ca. 1868–69. Oil on canvas. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Partial and Promised Gift of Kenneth Jay Lane, 2014 (2014.435.1)

Gallery 809 hosts a trio of stunning still lifes: Édouard Manet's The Brioche, a partial and promised gift of an anonymous donor, and a pair of rare flower paintings by Eugène Boudin, best known as the landscapist and marine painter who inspired the young Monet. Not far away, in gallery 811, Gustave Courbet's spirited hunting scenes find a companion in the artist's endearing depiction of a brown-and-white dog, reprised from his groundbreaking A Burial at Ornans (1849–50; Musée d'Orsay, Paris).

Édouard Manet (French, 1832–1883). The Brioche, 1870. Oil on canvas. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Partial and Promised Gift of an Anonymous Donor, 1991 (1991.287)

Édouard Manet (French, 1832–1883). The Brioche, 1870. Oil on canvas. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Partial and Promised Gift of an Anonymous Donor, 1991 (1991.287)

Like all of summer's pleasures, these are destined to be fleeting; while some of the loans are long-term, the pictures by Gauguin, Cézanne, Manet, Boudin, and Courbet are only on view until late August, and the painting by Gérôme returns home at the beginning of September.

Related Link
New York Times: "Summer Treats in the Met's European Galleries" (July 31, 2014)

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About the Author

Alison Hokanson is an assistant curator in the Department of European Paintings.

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