Works made by Tiffany, Lalique, Jean Schlumberger, Paul Storr, and Fabergé as well as paintings by Robert Henri, George Stubbs, John Singer Sargent, Berthe Morisot, Willem de Kooning, Eastman Johnson, Robert Henri, Childe Hassam, Max Pechstein, Vincent van Gogh, and Beauford Delaney will be featured in the Winter Antiques Show’s 2018 loan exhibition from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA) in Richmond, VA. Collecting for the Commonwealth/Preserving for the Nation: Celebrating a Century of Art Patronage at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts celebrates a collection renowned for American fine and decorative art, including the transformative gift of the James W. and Frances Gibson McGlothlin Collection. VMFA holds the best Art Nouveau and Art Deco outside of Paris; French Impressionist, modern and contemporary works from the collections of Paul Mellon and Sydney and Frances Lewis; the Lillian Thomas Pratt bequest of five Fabergé Imperial Eggs and over 500 additional Russian objects; and the recently acquired Rachel Lambert Mellon Collection of Jean Schlumberger, comprising over 140 pieces designed by the iconic artist-jeweler who boasted a private salon at Tiffany & Co.
The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts has often been called a “collection of collections,” a moniker that aptly evokes the tremendous role individual patrons have played in the founding and development of the museum’s holdings. In 1919, Judge John Barton Payne (1855-1935) gave fifty works of art—and subsequently bequeathed seventy-five more—to the Commonwealth of Virginia. He also offered a $100,000 matching grant for the founding of an art museum. Incredibly, in the midst of an economic depression, Governor John Garland Pollard (1871-1937) met Payne’s challenge and together they established the first state-run art museum in the United States. Following a temporary installation in the neighboring “Battle Abbey” – now the Virginia Historical Society – the museum opened its doors in 1936. Serving consecutively as the nascent institution’s first and second presidents, Payne and Pollard and the public-private partnership they forged went on to define the future operations and culture of VMFA. Today, the Commonwealth continues to support the infrastructure and administration of the museum, and every work of art that enters VMFA’s collections does so at the behest of liberal private patronage. This exhibition honors those transformational donors who established a legacy of fine and decorative arts from a fledgling depression-era dream. VMFA Director Alex Nyerges noted: “It seems particularly fitting that we should recognize these patrons at the Winter Antiques Show and commemorate their philanthropic spirit with support of East Side House Settlement.”
The 64th annual Winter Antiques Show takes place at the Park Avenue Armory, Park Avenue at 67th Street, New York City, from January 19-28, 2018 and is an annual benefit for East Side House Settlement, a community-based organization in the South Bronx. East Side House’s programs focus on education and technology as gateways out of poverty and as the keys to economic opportunity. All revenues from the show’s general admissions and the net proceeds from the Opening Night Party on January 18th and other events go to East Side House and contribute substantially to its private philanthropic budget.
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