A history of great American collectors

The Palazzo Reale in Milan opens its doors to another magnificent exhibition entitled Impressionism and Avant-gardes. Masterpieces from the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Until September 2nd 2018, a selection of 50 masterpieces from one of the most important and historic American museums will be on display. Besides being a unique opportunity to admire the works of the greatest painters at the turn of the Nineteenth and Twentieth centuries, the exhibition offers visitors a truly unique sensorial experience provided by an exhibition staging designed to enhance every single work. In particular, the lighting architecture created by the Barbara Balestreri studio allows you to fully enjoy each masterpiece since each one is lit to perfection and inserted in its original context, making the viewer feel as if they are back in that specific time period and in the places where the impressionists created their wonders. Special lighting solutions have been devised for every single canvas and as Balestreri herself saysIt was fundamental to carefully study the colours which vary a lot in hue and saturation over the period of time that goes from the colour experiments of the Impressionists to sculptures by Picasso and Rodin. For example, for landscapes we have designed a solution that highlights the coloured brushstrokes and accentuates the three-dimensionality of the landscapes, bringing out the blue and the colder colours without flattening them.

Una storia di grande collezionismo americano

The exhibition, promoted and produced by the Milan City Culture Council, the Palazzo Reale and MondoMostreSkira is curated by Jennifer Thompson, Matthew Affron and Stefano Zuffi.
Among the major artists on display there are works by such luminaries as
Pierre Bonnard, Paul Cézanne, Edgar Degas, Edouard Manet, Paul Gauguin, Claude Monet, Vincent van Gogh, Camille Pissarro and Pierre-Auguste Renoir as well as experiments by Georges Braque, Vasily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, Henri Matisse, Marc Chagall, Constantin Brancusi and Pablo Picasso, along with the surrealism of Salvador Dalí and Joan Mirò. To these can be added the works of three other great artists, namely Mary Cassatt, Marie Laurencin and Berthe Morisot.

Claude Monet La Zuiderkerk di Amsterdam: vista sul Groenburgwal, ca. 1874 olio su tela, 54.4 x 65.4 cm Philadelphia Museum of Art, Acquistato con il W. P. Wilstach Fund, 1921
Claude Monet
La Zuiderkerk di Amsterdam: vista sul Groenburgwal, ca. 1874
olio su tela, 54.4 x 65.4 cm
Philadelphia Museum of Art, Acquistato con il W. P. Wilstach Fund, 1921

The works come from the Philadelphia Museum of Art collections of modern and impressionistic art. The interesting thing here is that they are the result of donations, not only of single works, but of whole collections, characterized by the imposing personality of the collectors. The Americans, especially the inhabitants of Philadelphia, were among the first impressionist collectors, largely thanks to the artist Mary Cassatt who lived in Paris for a long time and who acted as a link between her fellow citizens and French dealers and artists. The first Impressionist paintings entered the Philadelphia Museum of Art collection in 1921 when the W.P. Wilstach Fund permitted the purchase of ten works from the heirs of Alexander Cassatt.
Samuel Stockton White III also figures among the other collectors who contributed to make the museum an unmissable destination for impressionist fans in the United States.

Marc Chagall Nella notte, 1943 olio su tela, 47 x 52.4 cm Philadelphia Museum of Art, Collezione Louis E. Stern, 1963
Marc Chagall
Nella notte, 1943
olio su tela, 47 x 52.4 cm
Philadelphia Museum of Art, Collezione Louis E. Stern, 1963

The donation that formally started the museum’s current and enormous collection of modern art was that of Albert Eugene Gallatin who in 1927 created the twentieth century’s first public modern art collection in the United States. Gallatin’s donation was followed by that of Louise and Walter Arensberg, whose collection constitutes the other milestone of twentieth century art in Philadelphia. The museum’s collection of modern painting was then enriched by the donation in 1964 of the Louis E. Stern collection which had more than three hundred works. To think that these masterpieces were in the homes of American industrialists or enlightened collectors who with great generosity decided to donate them to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, which in turn has lent them to Milan for over five months, really makes the exhibition a unique occasion.
For more information visit the site 
www.palazzoreale.it or www.impressionismoeavanguardie.it.

Pablo Picasso Donna e bambine, 1961 olio su tela, 146 x 113.7 cm Philadelphia Museum of Art, Donazione di Mrs. John Wintersteen, 1964
Pablo Picasso
Donna e bambine, 1961
olio su tela, 146 x 113.7 cm
Philadelphia Museum of Art, Donazione di Mrs. John Wintersteen, 1964
Pierre-Auguste Renoir Ragazza che fa il merletto, ca. 1906 olio su tela, 56.5 x 46.7 cm Philadelphia Museum of Art, Collezione Louis E. Stern, 1963
Pierre-Auguste Renoir
Ragazza che fa il merletto, ca. 1906
olio su tela, 56.5 x 46.7 cm
Philadelphia Museum of Art, Collezione Louis E. Stern, 1963
Henri Rousseau Una sera di carnevale, 1886 olio su tela, 117.3 x 89.5 cm Philadelphia Museum of Art, Collezione Louis E. Stern, 1963
Henri Rousseau
Una sera di carnevale, 1886
olio su tela, 117.3 x 89.5 cm
Philadelphia Museum of Art, Collezione Louis E. Stern, 1963
Vasily Kandinsky Cerchi in un cerchio, 1923 olio su tela, 98.7 x 95.6 cm Philadelphia Museum of Art, Collezione Louise e Walter Arensberg, 1950
Vasily Kandinsky
Cerchi in un cerchio, 1923
olio su tela, 98.7 x 95.6 cm
Philadelphia Museum of Art, Collezione Louise e Walter Arensberg, 1950