ATLANTA - The High Museum of Art recently acquired four major works for its permanent collection, including the pastel “Mother and Child,” by Mary Cassatt; the oil painting “Snowscape with Cows, Montfoucault,” by Camille Pissarro; the oil painting “The Breakfast,” by Pierre Bonnard; and the painting on paper “Villa les Écluses, St. Jacut, Brittany,” by Édouard Vuillard. The new acquisitions were purchased from the estate of longtime Atlanta resident Kathryn Welch Hartzog. The purchases were made possible by the Forward Arts Foundation, the Robert D. Fowler Family, Helen C. Griffith and Joan N. Whitcomb. The Forward Arts Foundation, a special friend of the High for over 40 years, has donated the funds to help the Museum acquire most of its Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings.
“The acquisition of these four major works makes the Museum’s holdings of French Impressionist and Post-Impressionist artists one of the most important in the Southeast,” commented David Brenneman, the High’s Director of Collections and Exhibitions and Frances. B. Bunzl Family Curator of European art. In addition to paintings by Monet and Bazille and prints and drawings by Toulouse-Lautrec and Degas already in the permanent collection, the High now possesses one oil painting and two pastels by Cassatt; three paintings and one print by Pissarro; one painting, three drawings and three prints by Vuillard; and one painting and three prints by Bonnard.
Beginning on Mother’s Day, Sunday, May 11, and running through August 17, the four new works will be on view at the High as part of a special permanent collection installation of eight works titled “Cassatt, Pissarro, Bonnard, Vuillard: New Acquisitions for the Collection.” The four new works will be displayed with another Cassatt pastel, which was gifted by Jacqueline and Matt Friedlander in 2005; a Cassatt oil painting; and two Vuillard pastels, which were given by Mrs. Hartzog in 1992.
Mary Cassatt, “Mother and Child,” pastel on paper, 1909–1914
Mary Cassatt (American, 1844–1926) is considered one of the greatest painters of mothers and their children. In “Mother and Child,” her modern interpretation of the Madonna and Child theme captures the intimacy of the relationship between mother and child. Cassatt often used the soft and delicate medium of pastel—which she adopted, at least in part, because of her friendship with Edgar Degas—to render her depictions of domestic interiors and family life. Cassatt’s bold, sketchy application of brilliant colors heightens the effect of a tender moment and results in her warm, affectionate portraits of mothers and children. “Mother and Child” was purchased with funds from The Forward Arts Foundation and the
Robert D. Fowler Family.
Camille Pissarro, “Snowscape with Cows, Montfoucault,” oil on canvas, 1874
Camille Pissarro (French, 1830–1903) is perhaps best known for his paintings of rural landscapes. The scene in “Snowscape with Cows, Montfoucault” depicts the home of fellow painter Ludovic Piette and is one of several snow scenes Pissarro painted during the winter of 1874. Pissarro’s limited palette and broad, painterly brushwork suggest not only the influence of Pissarro’s predecessor, Gustave Courbet, but also the influence of Paul Cézanne, with whom Pissarro worked closely during the 1870s. “Snowscape with Cows, Montfoucault” was purchased with funds from Helen C. Griffith to honor Robert Sherrill Griffith, Jr., and from Joan N. Whitcomb in memory of Taylor Stuckey.
Pierre Bonnard, “The Breakfast,” oil on canvas, 1922
During the 1880s and 1890s, Pierre Bonnard (French, 1867–1947) was a leading member of the Nabis, a group of Post-Impressionist artists. An example of an intimiste painting—a scene depicting everyday life in a domestic interior—“The Breakfast” displays Bonnard’s signature approach. He had an exquisite sense of color—highlighted here by the artist’s use of pinks and purples—and cropped his figures in unusual ways. “The Breakfast” was purchased with funds from Alfred Austell Thornton in memory of Leila Austell Thornton and Albert Edward Thornton, Sr. and from Sarah Miller Venable and William Hoyt Venable.
Édouard Vuillard, “Villa les Écluses, St. Jacut, Brittany,” painting on paper, ca. 1908
While vacationing in Brittany during the summers of 1908 and 1909, Édouard Vuillard (French, 1868–1940) produced a number of landscapes, including “Villa les Écluses, St. Jacut, Brittany.” This painting is a noteworthy example of Vuillard’s free experimentation with new media and techniques, particularly in the use of peinture à la colle—pigment bound with animal-based glue. His unusual choice of medium emphasizes the paper’s surface texture and accentuates the composition’s flat shapes and silhouettes. “Villa les Écluses, St. Jacut, Brittany” was purchased with general acquisitions funds.