In two short weeks, the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art will unveil the largest exhibition in our 94-year history: Masterpieces of European Painting from Museo de Arte de Ponce. You’ve seen some behind-the-scenes photos, so now we thought we’d give you a little background on this exhibition, which will be on view from October 3, 2009, through January 10, 2010.
Museo de Arte de Ponce began less than fifty years ago as a collection of European art acquired by philanthropist Luis A. Ferré “for all Puerto Ricans” to enjoy. Inspired by a trip to Europe in 1950, Mr. Ferré, who was to become the governor of Puerto Rico, began amassing an encyclopedic collection of Western art on the basis of aesthetic excellence. Today, the museum is acknowledged as one of the finest holdings of Old and Modern Masters in the Americas, counting over 3,000 works of art from every major school of European painting and sculpture.
Why is the Brooks getting to host some of these amazing paintings? Good question. This exhibition is the result of the temporary closing of the museum in Ponce, which is undergoing a major renovation and expansion of its site. The Brooks is one of only three other institutions in the US to house these works for a short period.
The exhibition will feature 60 huge canvases, ranging from the 14th through 19th centuries — iconic works by major Italian, British, French, Dutch, Spanish, and German painters. Among the artists represented are the famed Pre-Raphaelite visionaries Edward Burne-Jones and Dante Gabriel Rossetti (image shown), the renowned Baroque master Peter Paul Rubens, and the great belle-époque painter, James Tissot.
Dante Gabriel Rossetti (English, 1828 – 1882)
The Roman Widow, 1874 | Oil on canvas
Collection Museo de Arte de Ponce
Fundación Luis A. Ferré, Inc. Ponce, Puerto Rico
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Stay tuned for more exhibition installation photos in the next couple days…