Renoir to Picasso
|The great names in modern French art, including Renoir, Cézanne, Matisse, Monet, Modigliani, Derain and Picasso, are showcased at their finest in Renoir to Picasso: Masterpieces from the Musée de l’Orangerie, Paris.|
This spectacular exhibition, comprising 81 paintings, will be on view at the Art Gallery of New South Wales from 1 June to 29 July, before touring to the National Gallery of Victoria on Russell.
These are paintings from a legendary collection founded by the great Parisian art dealer Paul Guillaume, whose remarkable achievement was to persuade wealthy Parisians that avant-garde art was a highly desirable status symbol. He was the man who made collecting modern art the smart thing to do. Guillaume’s widow Domenica, who subsequently married mining tycoon Jean Walter, bequeathed the Walter Guillaume Collection to the Musée de l’Orangerie in Paris where it has been on view since 1984.
The collection perfectly evokes the era between the two World Wars, when there was a desire for an affirmative form of modern art that reconciled tradition with innovation, popular culture with a cosmopolitan sophistication, simplicity with opulence, pleasure with intellectual rigour.
Paul Guillaume’s collecting over a twenty year period from 1913 until his death in 1934 at the age of 42, reflects the tastes and the passion of the times – a wonderful survey of 50 years of early 20th century ‘great French painting’. Guillaume’s taste was adventurous – he was an early champion of African art, viewing its aesthetic qualities over ethnographic interests. He discovered and exhibited for the first time in Paris young and bold avant-garde artists such as de Chirico, Soutine, Utrillo and Modigliani, well ahead of their wider appeal, and acquired for his own collection some of Picasso’s, Matisse’s and Derain’s most daring paintings.
Guillaume did not come from a wealthy and cultivated background, nor was he interested in simply supplying works of art for customer demand like other art dealers. Instead he actively promoted aspects of the artistic and cultural life of Paris, providing moral and material support to artists, interpreting the art of his time for his contemporaries. Guillaume was celebrated by the artists he supported – for instance in Modigliani’s portrait of him the words Novo pilota, or ‘new helmsman’ identify the sitter as being at the forefront of modern art.
Guillaume’s will bequeathed the collection to the Louvre, but gave his widow Domenica complete ownership of the works during her lifetime and the ability to dispose of them as she saw fit. Although she continued to house the collection, she sold works to finance her second husband Jean Walter’s business interests. On Jean Walter’s death, the wealth he had amassed enabled her to add significantly to the Guillaume collection. Her legacy was to moderate the “primitivist” thrust of the collection, and to enrich it with more works by Renoir, Cézanne, Monet, Sisley and Gauguin.
Guillaume’s premature death prevented his dream of opening a museum of modern art from being realised. Domenica Guillaume-Walter honoured his intention by negotiating for their combined collection to be housed in the Tuileries Gardens in the Musée de l’Orangerie. These negotiations were only completed in 1963, with the state taking possession in 1977 following Domenica’s death. Jean Walter played no part in the development of the collection, although Domenica named it in honour of her two great loves.
Major renovations currently being undertaken at the Musee de l’Orangerie have enabled the tour of this exhibition.
Following viewing at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Renoir to Picasso: Masterpieces from the Musée de l’Orangerie, Paris will tour to the National Gallery of Victoria on Russell (10 August to 30 September).
An exciting addition for visitors to the exhibition is the inclusion of three paintings from Claude Monet’s famous Water Lilies series, on loan from Galerie Larock-Granoff in Paris.
PIERRE GEORGEL LECTURE
Saturday 2 June at 2.30pm
Director of the Musee de l'Orangerie, Pierre Georgel will give a short talk on the extraordinary history of the Walter-Guillaume Collection.
$10 members & guests includes afternoon tea
Viewing of the exhibition after the talk will incur entry fee.
PARIS MODERNE: A Legendary Parisian Collection in its Time
Saturday 9 June 10am to 5pm
This symposium examines the Walter-Guillaume Collection in its historical context. The collection represents the modern art of its time, excluding or skimping certain tendencies while generously featuring others. What does it "say" about its era - the troubled period between two world wars?
The keynote speaker, Wayne C. Andersen, Professor Emeritus at MIT Boston, has published ground-breaking books and articles on Gauguin, Cezanne and Picasso among others. He will be joined by other distinguished speakers including Terence Maloon, Curator of Special Exhibitions at the Art Gallery of New South Wales; John Williams, Independent Historian of World War I and Photographer; Roger Benjamin, Visiting Fellow, Australian National University and Ursula Prunster, Curator, Special Projects & Museum Educator, Art Gallery of New South Wales.
Bookings and pre-payment essential
telephone 61 2 9225 1878
facsimile 61 2 9221 6234
$80 full/$70 AGS members/$50 concession (includes GST)
Singapore Airlines, Art Indemnity Australia, Channel Seven, Triple M, Ansett Australia, Hilton Sydney
Sponsored in New South Wales by Merrill Lynch HSBC
Indemnified by the Australian Government in association with the Governments of Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria
Presented by the Musée de l’Orangerie, Paris.
Organised by the Queensland Art Gallery and Art Exhibitions Australia
|On view:||Art Gallery of New South Wales|
Art Gallery Road
The Domain, Sydney
|Telephone:||(02) 9225 1744 or recorded information|
(02) 9225 1790
|Hours:||Daily 10am to 5pm|
(closed Christmas Day and Easter Friday)
Special Late Night Openings -
26, 27, 28 & 29 July until 8pm
|Admission:||Adults $15, Concessions/Members $10|
Families (2 adults, 2 children) $40
|Media Information and Interviews:||Jan Batten|
telephone 61 2 9233 1213
facsimile 61 2 9221 3185
Above: Pablo Picasso Woman with Tambourine 1925 oil on canvas 97x 130cm Musee de lOrangerie © Pablo Picasso/Viscopy Ltd Sydney © PhotoRMN - Arnaudet