Frist Art Museum opens two new exhibitions

Vincent van Gogh (Dutch, 1853–1890). The Wheat Field behind St. Paul’s Hospital, St. Rémy, 1889. Oil on canvas, 9 1/2 x 12 3/4 in. Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond. Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon, 83.26. © Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. (Photo: Katherine Wetzel)

The Frist Art Museum presents Van Gogh, Monet, Degas, and Their Times: The Mellon Collection of French Art from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and A Sporting Vision: The Paul Mellon Collection of British Sporting Art from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. The two exhibitions will be on display in the Frist’s Ingram Gallery from February 2 through May 5, 2019. 
 
Representing the extraordinary gifts made to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA) by Paul and Rachel “Bunny” Lambert Mellon, the exhibitions include works by some of the most significant artists working in France and England in the 18th through 20th centuries and celebrate the connoisseurship and tastes of one of the great philanthropic and collecting couples of the 20th century.

Offering more than 70 works by masters such as Edgar Degas, Eugène Delacroix, Claude Monet, Berthe Morisot, Pablo Picasso, Henri Rousseau, and Vincent van Gogh, the French Art exhibition provides consummate examples of 19th and early 20th-century French art. With its core of Impressionist paintings, the collection also comprises masterpieces from every important school of French art, from Romanticism to Cubism. These works represent more than 150 years of French art and exemplify the Mellons’ personal vision and highly original strategies, which provide a context for understanding this unique collection of French art.

Édouard Manet (French, 1832–1883). On the Beach, Boulogne-sur-Mer, 1868. Oil on canvas, 12 3/4 x 26 in. Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon, 85.498. Image © Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. Photo: Katherine Wetzel

A Sporting Vision proposes a fresh look at sporting art within wider social and artistic contexts, including the scientific and industrial revolutions of the 18th and 19th centuries, the transformation of the British countryside, the treatment of horses and other animals, and society’s changing habits and customs. With representative masterpieces of the sporting art genre from the 18th through the 20th century—including works by Sir Francis Grant, John Frederick Herring, Benjamin Marshall, George Morland, and George Stubbs—this outstanding collection of more than 65 works set in pastoral environments features depictions of horse racing, hunting, fishing, and farming.

A graduate both of Yale College and the University of Cambridge in England, Paul Mellon developed an interest in British art that would continue throughout his life. Mellon admired and often emulated the lifestyle and traditions of the landed gentry in England and had an abiding passion for fox hunting and training thoroughbreds. In 1966, he funded the establishment of the Yale Center for British Art, to which he gave a vast collection of artworks and rare books.

The exhibition is organized thematically and introduces the genre through the career of George Stubbs, who is considered the greatest practitioner of British sporting art and renowned for the elegant naturalism of his animal portraits. Mark your calendars now for Frist Friday 6:00–9:00 p.m. Friday, March 29. Details will be posted at FristArtMuseum.org/FristFriday. Experience Frist Art Museum exhibitions in new and unexpected ways at Frist Fridays. It’s an evening of extraordinary music and art, with live performances, interactive gallery activities, food and drink specials, and more.