login    password    artist  buyer  gallery  
Not a member? Register
Indepth Arts News:

"RENOIR TO PICASSO: Masterpieces from the Musee de l'Orangerie, Paris"
2001-06-01 until 2001-07-29
Art Gallery of New South Wales
Sydney, , AU Australia

The great names in modern French art, including Renoir, Cézanne, Matisse, Monet, Modigliani, Derain and Picasso, are showcased at their finest in Renoir to Picasso: Masterpieces from the Musée de l’Orangerie, Paris. This spectacular exhibition, comprising 81 paintings, will be on view at the Art Gallery of New South Wales from 1 June to 29 July, before touring to the National Gallery of Victoria on Russell.

These are paintings from a legendary collection founded by the great Parisian art dealer Paul Guillaume, whose remarkable achievement was to persuade wealthy Parisians that avant-garde art was a highly desirable status symbol. He was the man who made collecting modern art the smart thing to do. Guillaume’s widow Domenica, who subsequently married mining tycoon Jean Walter, bequeathed the Walter Guillaume Collection to the Musée de l’Orangerie in Paris where it has been on view since 1984.

The collection perfectly evokes the era between the two World Wars, when there was a desire for an affirmative form of modern art that reconciled tradition with innovation, popular culture with a cosmopolitan sophistication, simplicity with opulence, pleasure with intellectual rigour.

Paul Guillaume’s collecting over a twenty year period from 1913 until his death in 1934 at the age of 42, reflects the tastes and the passion of the times – a wonderful survey of 50 years of early 20th century ‘great French painting’. Guillaume’s taste was adventurous – he was an early champion of African art, viewing its aesthetic qualities over ethnographic interests. He discovered and exhibited for the first time in Paris young and bold avant-garde artists such as de Chirico, Soutine, Utrillo and Modigliani, well ahead of their wider appeal, and acquired for his own collection some of Picasso’s, Matisse’s and Derain’s most daring paintings.

Guillaume did not come from a wealthy and cultivated background, nor was he interested in simply supplying works of art for customer demand like other art dealers. Instead he actively promoted aspects of the artistic and cultural life of Paris, providing moral and material support to artists, interpreting the art of his time for his contemporaries. Guillaume was celebrated by the artists he supported – for instance in Modigliani’s portrait of him the words Novo pilota, or ‘new helmsman’ identify the sitter as being at the forefront of modern art.

Guillaume’s will bequeathed the collection to the Louvre, but gave his widow Domenica complete ownership of the works during her lifetime and the ability to dispose of them as she saw fit. Although she continued to house the collection, she sold works to finance her second husband Jean Walter’s business interests. On Jean Walter’s death, the wealth he had amassed enabled her to add significantly to the Guillaume collection. Her legacy was to moderate the “primitivist” thrust of the collection, and to enrich it with more works by Renoir, Cézanne, Monet, Sisley and Gauguin.

Guillaume’s premature death prevented his dream of opening a museum of modern art from being realised. Domenica Guillaume-Walter honoured his intention by negotiating for their combined collection to be housed in the Tuileries Gardens in the Musée de l’Orangerie. These negotiations were only completed in 1963, with the state taking possession in 1977 following Domenica’s death. Jean Walter played no part in the development of the collection, although Domenica named it in honour of her two great loves. Major renovations currently being undertaken at the Musee de l’Orangerie have enabled the tour of this exhibition. Following viewing at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Renoir to Picasso: Masterpieces from the Musée de l’Orangerie, Paris will tour to the National Gallery of Victoria on Russell (10 August to 30 September). An exciting addition for visitors to the exhibition is the inclusion of three paintings from Claude Monet’s famous Water Lilies series, on loan from Galerie Larock-Granoff in Paris.

Pierre-Auguste Renoir
Nude amid landscape 1883
Musée de l'Orangerie, Paris
copyright PhotoRMN - Jean Schormans

Related Links:


Discover over 150,000 works of contemporary art. Search by medium, subject matter, price and theme... research over 200,000 works by over 22,000 masters in the indepth art history section. Browse through new Art Blogs. Use our advanced artwork search interface.

Call for Artists, Premiere Portfolio sign-up for your Free Portfolio or create an Artist Portfolio today and sell your art at the marketplace for contemporary Art! Start a Gallery Site to exclusively showcase your gallery. Keep track of contemporary art with your free MYabsolutearts account.


Copyright 1995-2013. World Wide Arts Resources Corporation. All rights reserved