The Moment - Feb 22, 2020

Major Collection of 24 Impressionist to Modernist Paintings Given to the High Museum

  • ATLANTA, Georgia
  • /
  • August 27, 2019

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Claude Monet (French, 1840–1926), Maisons au bord de la route, 1885, oil on canvas, 25 x 32 inches. High Museum of Art, Atlanta, Doris and Shouky Shaheen Collection.

One of the most important gifts of European art in the High Museum’s history

Featuring 24 works by Matisse, Monet, Modigliani, Pissarro, Renoir and many other masters

The High Museum of Art has announced that Atlanta-based philanthropists Doris and Shouky Shaheen have donated their entire impressionist, post-impressionist and modernist painting collection, totaling 24 artworks, to the Museum. The Shaheen gift is one of the most significant groups of European paintings ever to enter the Museum’s collection, rivaled only by the Samuel H. Kress Foundation donation in 1958, which established the core of the High’s European art holdings. This marks the High’s first acquisition of paintings by renowned artists such as Henri Fantin-Latour, Henri Matisse, Amedeo Modigliani and Alfred Sisley.

“We are exceptionally grateful for the generosity of this landmark gift,” said Rand Suffolk, Nancy and Holcombe T. Green, Jr., director of the High. “The Shaheens’ contribution single-handedly elevates the quality of our European collection and will greatly enhance the visitor experience.”

Atlanta residents since 1965, the Shaheens began to amass their remarkable collection in the early 1970s when they acquired Maurice de Vlaminck’s “Banlieue de Paris” (ca. 1922) from a local gallery. Over the past 50 years, the collection has grown to include paintings by some of the most recognized artists of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In addition to the first works by Fantin-Latour, Matisse, Modigliani, Sisley, Maurice Utrillo and Vlaminck to enter the High’s collection, the gift includes paintings by Eugène Boudin, Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Claude Monet, Camille Pissarro, Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Édouard Vuillard. The paintings’ subjects range from sweeping landscapes and village scenes to intimate portraits and figure studies.

Camille Pissarro, Paysanne assise,1882. High Museum of Art, Atlanta, Doris and Shouky Shaheen Collection.

In recognition of the gift, the High will establish the Doris and Shouky Shaheen Gallery in its Stent Family Wing, where the paintings will be on view starting later this year.

“It’s been a great blessing of our life together to build this collection and live with these incredible works,” said the Shaheens. “Given our love for this collection, and our love for this city, we knew the High was the best home for these paintings. We’re thrilled that Atlantans will enjoy them for generations to come.”

The Shaheens have a long history of philanthropic support for organizations across the Southeast and beyond that reflects their love for the arts and commitment to healthcare access and education. Their financial donations led to the creation of Piedmont Hospital’s Doris Shaheen Breast Health Center in 2004 and helped the hospital significantly expand its emergency room. As a birthday gift to her husband in 2007, Doris established the Shouky Shaheen Lecture series, which brings nationally and internationally recognized artists and scholars to present lectures at the University of Georgia’s Lamar Dodd School of Art. The Shaheens have contributed to other institutions of higher learning, including the University of Memphis and Birzeit University. In addition to this major gift of artworks, the couple have contributed generously to the High as members since 1983 and as Friends of the Collection. The Shaheens are the founders of Shaheen & Co., which develops warehouse space throughout the metro area.

“The Shaheens’ generous gift strengthens the High’s already significant holdings of impressionist and post-impressionist works to an extraordinary new level,” said Claudia Einecke, the High’s Frances B. Bunzl Family curator of European art. “In addition to making the Museum a must-see destination for visitors and scholars alike, the Shaheen collection now gives the High much greater depth of works by artists such as Monet, Pissarro and Sisley, providing deeper context for our overall collection and allowing our audiences to gain a fuller understanding and greater appreciation for these artists’ individual achievements.”

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, “La bohemiènne à mandoline assise” (ca. 1860s–1870s). High Museum of Art, Atlanta, Doris and Shouky Shaheen Collection.

Highlights of the Doris and Shouky Shaheen Collection include:

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot (French, 1796–1875), “La bohemiènne à mandoline assise” (ca. 1860s–1870s) — Though primarily a landscape painter, Corot would dress models for figure paintings, often with items from his personal collection. In this case, he depicts a young girl holding a mandolin.

• Henri Fantin-Latour (French, 1836–1904), “Grand bouquet de chrysanthèmes” (1882) —This floral still life, the first work by Fantin-Latour to enter the High’s collection, is characteristic of his celebrated style.

• Henri Matisse (French, 1869–1954), “Femme assise devant son piano (Marguerite)” (ca. 1924) — This colorful oil on canvas is a study for a larger painting by Matisse and is one of two works by the artist included in the gift.

• Amedeo Modigliani (Italian, 1884–1920), “Portrait de Beatrice Hastings” (1914) — This early portrait by Modigliani is the High’s first acquisition of the artist’s work.

• Claude Monet (French 1840–1926), “Maison au bord de la route” (1885) — This beautiful landscape is one of three Monet paintings entering the High’s collection.

• Camille Pissarro (French, 1830 – 1903), “Paysanne assise” (1882) — The gift features three works by Pissarro, including two landscapes and this portrait of a peasant woman, a recurring motif in his paintings.

• Alfred Sisley (French, 1839–1899), “Une rue à Marly” (1876) — Of the four Sisley paintings entering the High’s collection, this is an early landscape from the height of the impressionist movement.

About the High’s European Art Collection

The High’s European art collection represents centuries of artistic achievement, featuring more than 1,000 paintings, sculptures and works on paper spanning the 1300s through the 1900s. The artworks trace the development of religion, scientific discovery and social change as reflected in the continent’s visual culture.

In 1958, the Samuel H. Kress Foundation donated what became the core of the High’s European art collection. The Kress Collection includes Giovanni Bellini’s “Madonna and Child,” Vittore Carpaccio’s “Prudence” and “Temperance,” and other artworks from Renaissance and Baroque Europe. Since 1960, the High has acquired impressionist and post-impressionist works by Monet, Pissarro, Renoir, Edgar Degas, Émile Bernard and others.

The High Museum’s significant European print holdings, displayed on a rotating basis, include work ranging from Albrecht Dürer’s 16th-century engravings to a complete edition of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec’s “Elles” lithographs portfolio.

 For more information about the High, visit www.high.org. 

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