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The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, pairs two exhibitions of French avant-garde painting this fall

Monet to Picasso presents a private collection in its entirety for the first time; Berthe Morisot: Impressionist Original showcases the artist’s revolutionary portraiture

HOUSTON—September 11, 2019—Beginning October 20, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, will pair two exhibitions that situate the Impressionist movement in the evolution of the 19th-century French avant-garde: Monet to Picasso: A Very Private Collection and Berthe Morisot: Impressionist Original. The Museum is the only venue for both exhibitions, which will be on view through January 12, 2020.

“We are fortunate to present for the first time 30 major modern paintings from a significant private collection. While individual works have been loaned to museums over the years, this group has never been exhibited together before,” said Gary Tinterow, director of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. “Paired with a focused selection of Berthe Morisot’s paintings, the two exhibitions together capture a ‘Who’s Who’ of the Impressionist, Post-Impressionist, and Early Modern movements, the artists who defined French art at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century.”

Monet to Picasso: A Very Private Collection features 30 paintings by the pivotal artists who sparked the major movements of the late-19th through mid-20th century. Assembled over decades, this selection chronicles key moments in the development of Modern art in Paris: the evolution of Impressionism from its roots in the work of artists, including Corot, and represented by the work of Claude Monet, Camille Pissarro, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Alfred Sisley, and Mary Cassatt; the emergence of the Post-Impressionist painters, including Vincent van Gogh, Paul Gauguin, and Paul Cézanne; and the leading figures of 20th-century abstraction, including Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Georges Braque, Juan Gris, and Fernand Léger.

Berthe Morisot: Impressionist Original highlights the artist’s approach to portraiture and her focus on the life of women in modern Paris, her singular role in the French Impressionist movement. Following upon the recent internationally touring retrospective of Morisot’s work, Impressionist Original will feature two dozen paintings from public and private lenders, including four important works in Houston collections that could not be included in the traveling exhibition.

Morisot’s domestic scenes focus on children, family, and flowers, capturing a woman's life in the late 19th century. Through her portrayal of the human figure, Morisot was able to explore the themes of modern life that came to define Impressionism—the intimacy of contemporary bourgeois living and leisure activities, female fashion, and women’s domestic work—while blurring distinctions between interior and exterior, public and private, finished and unfinished.

The exhibition illuminates the artist’s role as an essential figure within the Impressionist movement. One of the founding members of the Impressionist group, along with Monet, Degas, Sisley and Renoir, Morisot achieved critical and commercial success during her lifetime. The selected works on view reveal a painter who, against the norms of her time and her elevated social background, became an important member of the Parisian avant-garde from the late 1860s until her death in 1895.

About the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
Established in 1900, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, is among the 10 largest art museums in the United States, with an encyclopedic collection of nearly 70,000 works dating from antiquity to the present. The Museum’s Susan and Fayez S. Sarofim main campus comprises the Audrey Jones Beck Building, designed by Rafael Moneo and opened in 2000; the Caroline Wiess Law Building, originally designed by William Ward Watkin, with extensions by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe completed in 1958 and 1974; the Lillie and Hugh Roy Cullen Sculpture Garden, designed by Isamu Noguchi and opened in 1986; the Glassell School of Art, designed by Steven Holl Architects and opened in 2018; and The Brown Foundation, Inc. Plaza, designed by Deborah Nevins & Associates and opened in 2018. Additional spaces include a repertory cinema, two libraries, public archives, and facilities for conservation and storage. Nearby, two house museums—Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens, and Rienzi—present American and European decorative arts. The MFAH is also home to the International Center for the Arts of the Americas (ICAA), a leading research institute for 20th-century Latin American and Latino art. 

Organization & Funding
These exhibitions are organized by the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.

Leading support provided by:

Major Corporate Sponsor:

Generous funding provided by:
​Carol and Mike Linn

Official Promotional Partner:

Media Contact
Sarah Hobson, publicist | 713.800.5345