VMFA celebrating a century of art patronage by showcasing prized works to New York’s Park Avenue Armory

VMFA celebrating a century of art patronage by showcasing prized works to New York’s Park Avenue Armory

“These works represent the great diversity and quality of VMFA’s collections as well as the tastes and histories of our donors,” said Alex Nyerges, VMFA’s Director.

Photo: Chad Williams

From the VMFA:

The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts will showcase a century of art patronage—including some of the most important and recognized pieces in its collections—in a special exhibition at the Winter Antiques Show, the leading art and antiques fair in the United States. Collecting for the Commonwealth/Preserving for the Nation: Celebrating a Century of Art Patronage, 1919-2018—Virginia Museum of Fine Arts will be on view January 19-28, 2018. Held at the historic Park Avenue Armory in New York, the Winter Antiques Show invites one institution to showcase its collection during the show, which benefits the East Side House Settlement.

Among cherished VMFA works to be on display are Fabergé’s Imperial Peter the Great Easter Egg, Paul Storr’s stunning Figure of Hebe, Vincent van Gogh’s masterful Daisies, Arles, Beauford Delaney’s Marian Anderson, and George Bellows’s Tennis at Newport.Together, the exhibition’s 48 varied works reveal as much about the museum’s maturation as the patrons who have shaped its encyclopedic collections.

“These works represent the great diversity and quality of VMFA’s collections as well as the tastes and histories of our donors,” said Alex Nyerges, VMFA Director. “We are delighted to bring this amazing cross-section of works—representing a spectrum of mediums, time periods, and cultures—to New York as a way of introducing new audiences to the treasures that can be viewed at VMFA.”

VMFA traces its philanthropic roots to 1919, when Judge John Barton Payne, shortly before beginning his term as U.S. Secretary of the Interior, donated 51 works of art to the Commonwealth and subsequently offered a $100,000 matching gift to found an art museum. In spite of the Great Depression, Governor John Garland Pollard secured the support to meet that challenge, and the two men established the first state-run art museum in the United States.

“Most extraordinary was Payne’s vision of an art museum as a catalyst for bringing people together and healing social wounds. It was good citizenship manifest as art patronage,” said Dr. Susan J. Rawles, Associate Curator of American Painting and Decorative Art, who curated the exhibition and wrote the accompanying catalogue. “Payne’s vision inspired others and, a century on, it’s time to celebrate the legacy of those generous donors and collectors who have created this world-class museum from his fledgling depression-era dream.”

The Winter Antiques Show is the leading art, antiques, and design fair in America, featuring 70 of the world’s top experts in the fine and decorative arts. Held at the historic Park Avenue Armory in New York City, the show highlights a dynamic mix of works dating from ancient times through the present day and maintains the highest standards of quality in the art market. Each object at the fair is vetted for authenticity, date, and condition by a committee of 150 experts from the United States and Europe. Established in 1955, the Winter Antiques Show is an annual benefit for East Side House Settlement, a community-based organization serving the Bronx and Northern Manhattan. East Side House’s programs focus on education and technology as gateways out of poverty and as keys to economic opportunity.

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