NATIONAL GALLERY OF ART
WASHINGTHON January 31, 2010–July 31, 2011
The Chester Dale Collection
The Plumed Hat,
1919, oil on canvas,
© National Gallery of Art
Chester Dale Collection
Courtesy National Gallery of Art
When Chester Dale bequeathed his remarkable collection of paintings to the National Gallery of Art in 1962, it became one of the most important repositories in North America of French art of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Some 81 of the finest French and American paintings―among the Gallery’s most beloved masterpieces― explore the collector’s passion and talent for acquiring great art as well as his tastes in modern art. This installation will allow visitors to discover the rich array of Dale’s bequest to the Gallery in the format of a special exhibition.
The range of paintings on view includes Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot’s Forest of Fontainebleau (1834), August Renoir’s A Girl with a Watering Can (1876), Mary Cassatt’s Boating Party (1893/1894), Pablo Picasso’s Family of Saltimbanques (1905), George Bellows’ Both Members of This Club (1909), and George Braque’s Still Life: Le Jour (1929). Several sculptures, such as Amedeo Modigliani’s Head of a Woman (1910/1911) and Paul Gauguin’s Père Paillard (1902), will also be on view. Among other artists represented are Henri Matisse, Edgar Degas, Paul Cézanne, Claude Monet, and Vincent van Gogh.
Chester Dale was an astute businessman who made his fortune on Wall Street in the bond market. He thrived on forging deals and translated much of this energy and talent into his art collection. He served on the boards of several museums that hoped to be the beneficiary of his collecting, but his greatest devotion was to the National Gallery of Art, where he served on the board of trustees from 1943 and as president from 1955 until his death in 1962. Two portraits of Dale, by Salvador Dali and Diego Rivera, and two portraits of Dale’s wife Maud (who greatly influenced his interest in art) by Fernand Léger and Bellows, are included in the show.
A fully illustrated catalogue will present a study of the collection, with a biographical essay on Chester Dale as a collector, an exploration of the context of collecting in America from the1920s to the 1960s, and a chronology of the Chester Dale Collection.
A 15-minute documentary film will profile Chester Dale.
A selection of books from the Chester Dale Collection and related documentary material from the Gallery Archives will be installed in Gallery G-21 of the West Building.
NATIONAL GALLERY OF ART