Museum of Fine Arts welcomes French masterpieces

Date: 10/11/2011

Oct. 10, 2011

By Katelyn Gendron

Assistant Managing Editor

SPRINGFIELD — On Dec. 13, works from such artistic visionaries as Claude Monet and Vincent van Gogh will adorn the walls of the Michele and Donald D’Amour Museum of Fine Arts.

Fifty works from the 17th through 20th centuries will be on display through April 29, 2012 as part of “Old Masters to Monet: Three Centuries of French Painting from the Wadsworth Atheneum.” Members of the staff at Springfield Museums as well as Donald and Michele D’Amour, Mayor Domenic Sarno and others formally announced the exhibit’s opening at a press conference on Oct. 5.

“The Wadsworth Atheneum, America’s oldest public art museum founded in 1843, has never before presented a full-scale survey of its distinguished collection of French paintings … All the major types of painting are represented, included religious and mythological subjects, portraiture, landscape, still life and genre,” Heather Haskell, director of Springfield Art Museums, said.

Holly Smith-Bové, president of Springfield Museums, called this “one of the most major art shows we’ve brought in since 1988.”

The exhibit will take the viewer through a linear narrative, beginning with Claude Lorrain’s “Landscape with St. George the Dragon” from the 17th century to the lavish Rococo era of the 18th century to the world-renowned works of 19th century Impressionists such as Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Post-Impressionist masterpieces by such greats as Louis Anquetin in the 20th century.

Donald D’Amour of the Michele and Donald D’Amour Fund, which partially financed the exhibit, called the upcoming show “an incredible collection that will expose people to the incredible works already here in Springfield.” The museum has a permanent collection of French works such as Monet’s “Grainstack,” 1893, and Jean Baptiste Simeon Chardin’s “Rafraîchissements (Refreshments),” 1764.

“Springfield is a mosaic city of diversity. I think we take for granted that this city has a world-class museum,” Sarno said, noting the draw that such an exhibit as well as the D’Amour Museum’s permanent collection will have on the region.

“Old Masters to Monet: Three Centuries of French Painting from the Wadsworth Atheneum” will open on Dec. 13 and can be viewed during regular museum hours, Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Sundays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The special exhibition fee will total $10 for adults and $5 for children ages 5 to 12.

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