Since its opening in 1978 the East Building of the National Gallery of Art has housed a suite of galleries dedicated to a group of intimately scaled impressionist and post-impressionist paintings. Gifted to the gallery in large part by Ailsa Mellon Bruce—daughter of the Gallery's founder, Andrew W. Mellon—and her younger brother, Paul, these small-scale paintings invite viewers to look closely and contemplate color, texture, and composition. These are pictures the donors bought and lived with in their homes before giving them to the nation, and they inspired gifts of similar works from other generous collectors. The broad appeal of the Gallery's small French paintings stems from their sense of intimacy—they were made for personal enjoyment and depict quiet interiors, lush landscapes, family groups, and people reading, sailing, and visiting the beach.
Intimate Impressionism from the National Gallery of Art presents sixty-eight of these treasured works, including paintings by renowned artists Pierre Bonnard, Paul Cezanne, Edgar Degas, Edouard Manet, Auguste Renoir, and Edouard Vuillard, among others. An essay by Mary Morton, curator and head of the department of French Paintings at the National Gallery of Art, explores the very personal nature of these works and how they came to be shared with the museum-going public, highlighting for the first time Ailsa Mellon Bruce's role in the formation of the collection.
- 180 pages, 102 illustrations
- 11 x 12 inches
- Published: 2014
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