St. Petersburg, Fla.–All exhibitions during the 50th anniversary year in 2015 are inspired by the MFA’s stellar collection. Masterpieces created by French artists and by others working in France are a hallmark, and four are included in Monet to Matisse—On the French Coast.
Exceptional paintings are also coming from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Brooklyn Museum, the Art Institute of Chicago, the National Gallery of Art and The Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C., and closer to home, the Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach. Private collectors in both the U.S. and Europe are sharing their treasures.
Monet to Matisse, set for Saturday, February 7-Sunday, May 31, brings together paintings created on both the Atlantic and Mediterranean coasts of France and opens on the same day the MFA opened to the public in 1965. To commemorate this joyous occasion, the MFA is presenting a Founders Day Open House—free for everyone—on the first day of the exhibition from 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
Major artists represented in the show include Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Pierre Bonnard, Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Paul Signac, Max Beckmann, and the talented brothers Raoul and Jean Dufy. The vast majority of the works have never been seen before in Florida or the Southeast.
Escaping the urban congestion and pressures of Paris, artists flocked to the smaller coastal towns and looked to the water, light, and sky for inspiration and renewal. The paintings in the exhibition were created in places like Nice, Cannes, Villefranche, Le Havre, Antibes, and Honfleur, each with its own distinctive character. The show extends from Eugène Boudin’s atmospheric Outskirts of Le Légué, the Port of Saint-Brieuc (1871-1873) to Jean Dufy’s Marseille (1954), with its dominant, deep blue palette.
Monet’s The Customs House at Varengeville (1897) evokes a sense of solitude, a meditative quality, as do Matisse’s Two Rays (1920), Bonnard’s Seascape, Cannes (1931), and the MFA’s beloved painting by Alfred Stevens, Woman by the Sea, Le Puys (1893). Vacation and leisure are reflected in many paintings, including in Renoir’s Figures on the Beach (1890) and Beckmann’s Sunny Beach with Bathers (1937). The exhibition encompasses pre-Impressionism to Modernism.
All was not sun and fun in all these locations, however. Some were harbors and working ports, centers for commercial and family fishing. The MFA’s painting by Pierre Daura, Port of Cassis (1925), is a prime example.
The beach and the port resonate with the Tampa Bay area. In fact, it is easy to imagine a number of the paintings being created in and around St. Petersburg. Jean Dufy’s Marseille brings to mind our downtown waterfront, with its sailboats dotting the bay and an expanse of buildings, resembling the Vinoy, in the background.
Paintings also encourage visitors to examine how artists treated settings around the same town. Othon Friesz, who studied early on with one of Raoul Dufy’s teachers, was drawn to the buildings and the fishing boats in Honfleur (1940), from the MFA collection. Both are wonderfully reflected in the water. In contrast, Jean Dufy’s Quai de la Planchette à Honfleur (1940) is colorful and full of light. It has an entirely different feeling, accentuated by its horizontal placement.
In keeping with the Museum’s golden anniversary, many of the paintings are festive in spirit, suggesting holidays and vacations. Two paintings by Picasso from the 1930s are magical, and Renoir’s Vineyard at Cagnes (1906) complements Wine Weekend St. Pete 2015: Cheers to 50 Years! Like the exhibition, that wine extravaganza and auction, presented by The Margaret Acheson Stuart Society, will launch the 50th anniversary in a big way.
Independent scholar and consultant Dr. Kenneth Wayne is the guest curator, collaborating with Hazel and William Hough Chief Curator Jennifer Hardin and Curatorial Assistant Sabrina Hughes. Dr. Wayne has curated impressive exhibitions closely related to this one and is the author of the essay for the fully illustrated catalogue, available in the Museum Store. Dr. Hardin curated Monet’s London: Artists’ Reflections on the Thames, 1859-1914, for the MFA’s 40th anniversary in 2005. The MFA is also grateful to the Galerie Jacques Bailly in Paris for considerable assistance with the loans of paintings by Jean Dufy, as well as to Mr. Bailly for his advice on the scope and theme of the exhibition.
Monet to Matisse—On the French Coast brings France to our doorstep and explores the settings that inspired some of the world’s most imaginative art. It also encourages us to appreciate the beauty of our hometown. It celebrates French art, the MFA, and the area, beginning the MFA’s 50th anniversary on an inspirational note.
FOUNDERS DAY OPEN HOUSE, FREE TO THE PUBLIC
Saturday, February 7, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
Everyone is invited to enjoy the special exhibitions Monet to Matisse—On the French Coast; Life’s a Beach, Photographs by Martin Parr; and African American Life and Family, as well as the MFA’s distinguished collection. The Florida Orchestra Brass Quintet will perform outside the Museum and Suzuki violinists will play inside. Face-painting, balloon art, and “Kidding Around Yoga” will be just a few of the activities for the entire family. Nan Colton, the MFA’s performing artist-in-residence, will look at some of founder Margaret Acheson Stuart’s favorite works in “Passions in the Collection.” Join the celebration!
WINE WEEKEND ST. PETE 2015: CHEERS TO 50 YEARS!
Presented by The Margaret Acheson Stuart Society
Saturday, February 7, and Sunday, February 8
Monet to Matisse—On the French Coast spotlights masterworks from some of the world’s greatest museums, and Wine Weekend St. Pete 2015: Cheers to 50 Years! some of the world’s most glorious wines.
The guests of honor—Jean-Charles Boisset and his wife Gina Gallo—are in the stratosphere of the wine world. Mr. Boisset recently received The Jefferson Award from the esteemed Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia and was the first winner of the French-American Partnership Award in 2013 from The French America Foundation. Gina Gallo is the granddaughter of Julio Gallo, who with his brother Ernest, established the E. & J. Gallo Winery in 1933 following the repeal of Prohibition. She has been named “the most powerful woman in wine” by the British magazine, The Drinks Business.
The featured chefs are Michel Cornu, Director of Cuisine and Hospitality for the Boisset Family Estates, and Tyson Grant of Parkshore Grill, who has been recognized as the Best Chef of Tampa Bay. Patricia Rossignol and John William Barger III are the chairs and Gail Phares is President of The Stuart Society, the Museum’s service and fundraising organization.
The events are all at the MFA and salute the Belle Époque. Tickets can be ordered by visiting www.WineWeekendStPete.org or by calling 727.753.WINE (9463). The corks will pop, the wine will flow, and the good times will roll at the following:
- International Wine Auction under the tent on the Museum’s north lawn and dinner at the “Café Montmartre” in the Mary Alice McClendon Conservatory, Saturday, February 7. Wine-tastings/auction preview begins at 2 p.m. The live auction follows at 4 p.m. and will spotlight not only exquisite wine, but also over-the-top lifestyle items and trips. Dress is resort casual. The French-themed dinner starts at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $285 per person.
- Anniversary Brunch at the MFA, Sunday, February 8, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Tickets are $100 per person.
For updates on public programs, please visit www.fine-arts.org.
Lecture on Monet to Matisse—On the French Coast by Guest Curator Dr. Kenneth Wayne
Sunday, February 8, 3:30 p.m., Opening Weekend, Free with MFA admission
Distinguished art historian and curator Dr. Kenneth Wayne has organized yet another exceptional exhibition and will introduce it in this engaging lecture. Four of his past projects relate directly to the MFA’s new one: Impressions of the Riviera: Monet, Renoir, Matisse and their Contemporaries; Raoul Dufy; Monet to Matisse: The Origins of Modernism; and Impressionist and Modern Works on Paper.
Now an independent curator and consultant, Dr. Wayne has served as the Deputy Director for Curatorial Affairs and Senior Consulting Curator for The Noguchi Museum in Long Island City and Chief Curator of the Heckscher Museum of Art in Huntington, New York. He has also been the Joan Whitney Payson Curator at the Portland Museum of Art in Maine, where he specialized in nineteenth- to mid-twentieth-century European art.
Dr. Wayne is one of nine advisory board members of the Musée Rodin in Paris, has lectured around the world, and is widely published. He holds his PhD from Stanford University and his BA with distinction from the University of California, Berkeley, both in art history, and his MA in modern art from the Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London.
MFA: Make and Take Saturday
First and Third Saturday of the month, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.
Free with MFA admission. No registration necessary.
For ages five and older, but entire families are encouraged to participate.
February 7 and 21: How many boats can you find in the paintings in Monet to Matisse? Be inspired by all that you count and make your own paper sailboat. Let your creativity set sail—and soar!
Coffee Talk with Nan Colton
Sponsored by Westminster Communities of St. Petersburg
Second Wednesday of the month, Free with MFA admission
March 11: In “Drawn Toward,” Ms. Colton, the MFA’s performing artist-in-residence, pulls us into the world of Woman by the Sea, Le Puys (1893) by Alfred Stevens, a beloved painting in the collection and part of Monet to Matisse.
Wayne W. and Frances Knight Parrish Lecture, “Monet by the Sea,” by Dr. George T.M. Shackelford, Deputy Director of the Kimbell Art Museum
Sunday, March 22, 3 p.m., Free with MFA admission
Dr. Shackelford is internationally known for his scholarship on late nineteenth-century French art and for his outstanding lectures. Prior to his appointment in 2012 at the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth, he chaired the Department of the Art of Europe at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, which he joined in 1996 as Curator of European Paintings. He has also served as the Curator of European Painting and Sculpture at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.
In his Parrish Lecture, Dr. Shackelford will discuss Monet’s lifelong romance with the sea in all of its aspects, from his native Normandy to the shores of the Mediterranean in France and in Italy. He will cover his beach scenes at Trouville and Ste. Adresse in the 1860s and 1870s to his views of the coasts at Antibes in the 1880s, and on to his late images of the waters of the Adriatic in Venice. Monet consistently returned to the beaches and bays to study the special qualities of atmosphere and reflected light that are found near the ocean.
Among Dr. Shackelford’s many impressive projects are Degas: The Dancers for the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. and Degas Landscapes and A Gift to America: Masterpieces of European Painting from the Samuel H. Kress Collection for the MFA, Houston. At the MFA, Boston, he co-curated such acclaimed exhibitions as Monet in the 20th Century, Mary Cassatt: Modern Woman, Van Gogh: Face to Face, Impressionist Still Life, Gauguin Tahiti, and Degas and the Nude.
His first exhibition at the Kimbell is Faces of Impressionism: Portraits from the Musée d’Orsay (through January 25). Gustave Caillebotte: The Painter’s Eye (later this year) will be followed by two shows devoted to Monet’s early and late works (2016 and 2018). In recognition of his contributions to scholarship on French art, he was elected a Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters by the Republic of France in 2005 and was promoted to the rank of Officier in 2012.
Each year, the Parrish Lecture brings an outstanding speaker to the community. The Parrishes, who lived most of their lives in Washington, D.C., donated many of the MFA’s most significant pre-Columbian objects. They are displayed in a gallery named in their honor.
Mr. Parrish was a successful publisher of aviation magazines and Mrs. Parrish was Director of the U.S. Passport Office from 1955-1977.
MAJOR 50TH ANNIVERSARY SPONSORS
The MFA expresses deep gratitude to the following generous supporters: The Margaret Acheson Stuart Society; Mark and Marianne Mahaffey; Bill Edwards Presents, Inc.; Raymond James; Jeff and Penny Vinik; Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs, the Florida Council on Arts and Culture, and the State of Florida; and Media Sponsor Tampa Bay Times.
ABOUT THE MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS, ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
The MFA at 255 Beach Drive N.E. has a world-class collection, with works by Monet, Gauguin, Renoir, Morisot, Cézanne, Rodin, O’Keeffe, and many other great artists. Also displayed are ancient Greek and Roman, Egyptian, Asian, African, pre-Columbian, and Native American art. The photography collection is one of the largest and finest in the Southeast.
Hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday, until 8 p.m. on Thursday, and noon-5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is only “5 after 5” on Thursday. Regular admission is $17 for adults, $15 for those 65 and older, and $10 for students seven and older, including college students with current I.D. Children under seven and Museum members are admitted free. Groups of 10 or more adults pay only $12 per person and children $4 each with prior reservations. The MFA Café is open from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday. For more information, please call 727.896.2667 or visit www.fine-arts.org.