Wednesday, February 3, 2010

D.C.'s National Gallery of Art Celebrates one of its Most Valued Collectors

The National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. presents "From Impressionism to Modernism: The Chester Dale Collection." The exhibition, on view at the Gallery's West Building through July 31, 2011, celebrates New York investment broker Chester Dale's 1962 bequest. Dale's allocation of 81 French and American paintings nearly tripled the size of the museum's 19th century French painting holdings and allowed the National Gallery to become one of North America's leading repositories of late 19th and early 20th century French art.

Dale made his fortune on Wall Street in the bond market and translated much of his energy and talent for forging business deals into building his art collection. Dale selected and purchased art based on his own personal tastes and with the guidance of his wife, Maud, an artist and critic. Dale served on several museums' boards of trustees throughout his life, including the MoMA in 1929 (the year it opened), the Art Institute of Chicago, the Philadelphia Museum of Art and of course, the National Gallery of Art.

Over time the Dales acquired some of the most renowned masterpieces in the history of art, creating a truly amazing art collection. The exhibition and its accompanying book will explore the Dales' passion and talent for collecting great art.

Many of the world's best French and American 19th and 20th century artists' paintings are on display, including some of the Dales' favorite works like Henri Matisse's "The Plumed Hat (1919)," Auguste Renoir's "A Girl with a Watering Can (1876)," Vincent van Gogh's "Girl in the White (1890)" and Amedeo Modigliani's "Gypsy Woman with Baby (1919)."

In addition to the dozens of priceless works on exhibit, a new 15-minute documentary film profiling the Dales (produced by the National Gallery of Art) will be shown in the galleries.

Read more about the Dales, their art collection, and the National Gallery's exhibition here.