The extraordinary works in this exhibition were collected by Georges Bemberg (1915–2011), the Argentine-French writer and musician who amassed one of the finest art collections in Europe. Today, the collection is housed at the Hótel d’Assézat in Toulouse, France. This exhibition marks the first time the Bemberg Foundation’s Impressionism collection, which rarely leaves its permanent home in France, has traveled to California. Monet to Matisse is one of only two showcases in the United States.
The Bemberg collection is known for both its old masters—shared recently in this museum with the exhibition Cranach to Canaletto—as well as the avant-garde movements of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. In particular, Impressionism, Post-Impressionism, and related movements, such as Pointillism and Fauvism, which are highlighted in this exhibition with major works.
Georges Bemberg made an auspicious beginning as a young Harvard student when he bought his first work of art, by Camille Pissarro, on a visit to New York. Pissarro’s status as “dean” of the Impressionist movement (as the critic John Rewald called him) may have resonated with Bemberg, as he was as quick to mentor his peers as he was to learn from them. Like Bemberg, Pissarro also enthusiastically embraced France as his adoptive home, having been born in the Caribbean Danish territory of St. Thomas (now United States Virgin Islands).
From these beginnings, Bemberg went on to collect the major contributors to the Impressionist and Post-Impressionist movements, ranging from Claude Monet, Berthe Morisot, and Paul Cezanne, to later giants such as Henri Matisse, Raoul Dufy, and Pierre Bonnard. It was Bonnard who would became a lifelong passion, and Bemberg eventually amassed more than thirty works by this seminal co-founder of Les Nabis, the modernist group that brought together influences by Paul Gauguin, Vincent van Gogh, and Japanese printmaking. As a true humanist and polymath, Bemberg had a deep appreciation for the diversity of interests and inspiration embodied in Les Nabis figures such as Pierre Bonnard and Paul Sérusier.
Please note: Due to the staff and logistics necessary for these installations, there is an additional charge ($5) for nonmembers, ages 7+. Members receive free admission.
In collaboration with Manifesto Expo.