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Renowned Georges Bemberg Collection of French Masterpieces Traveling to Houston in June 2021


Works by major artists of the Modern French School on view in Monet to Matisse: Impressionism to Modernism from the Bemberg Foundation

HOUSTON—March 29, 2021—Some 90 paintings and works on paper from the exceptional collection of late philanthropist Georges Bemberg are coming this summer to the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the only U.S. venue for Monet to Matisse: Impressionism to Modernism from the Bemberg Foundation.

Illustrating the progression of late-19th- and early-20th-century French painting movements ranging from Impressionism and Post-Impressionism to Symbolism and Fauvism, the exhibition’s chronological display places nearly all of the Modern French masters in context—among them Claude Monet, Henri Matisse, Paul Cézanne, Edgar Degas, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Berthe Morisot, Paul Gauguin, Édouard Vuillard, Paul Signac, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Pierre Bonnard, and Odilon Redon.

Monet to Matisse: Impressionism to Modernism will be on view in the Museum’s Audrey Jones Beck Building from June 27 through September 19, following its presentation in Switzerland this spring.

“Georges Bemberg followed his keen eye and personal enthusiasm for French painting when assembling this magnificent collection. It’s a privilege to be one of the few venues in the world to share these exceptional works and introduce visitors to Mr. Bemberg’s artistic approach to collecting,” said Gary Tinterow, Director and Margaret Alkek Williams Chair, MFAH.

“He was a collector of exceptional taste and sensitivity. His discernment is especially demonstrated in his acquisitions of works by the greatest French artists of the late 19th and early 20th centuries,” said Ann Dumas, the Museum’s consulting curator of European art.

Born in Argentina and raised in Paris, Georges Bemberg (1915–2011) immersed himself in French culture and developed a pronounced taste for beautiful objects early in life. He acquired his first artwork—a gouache by painter Camille Pissarro—as a student at Harvard University.

Testament to a lifetime of artistic research and passion, Bemberg assembled one of Europe’s largest private art collections, including paintings, drawings, and bronzes dating from the 16th century to the 20th century. He was particularly drawn, however, to artists of the Modern French School; and he had a special affinity for Bonnard’s stylized, richly colored canvases. Bemberg acquired more than 30 of Bonnard’s paintings, reflecting all periods of the artist’s career.

Bemberg established the Georges Bemberg Foundation in the late 1980s to preserve the integrity of his collection. Today the collection resides in Toulouse, France, rarely leaving its home at Hôtel d’Assézat, a restored Renaissance mansion built in the 16th century for merchant Pierre Assézat.

Organization & Funding
This exhibition is organized by the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and the Bemberg Foundation in collaboration with Manifesto Expo.
 

Generous funding provided by:
Samuel F. Gorman

Additional Museum support provided by a Cultural District grant from

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 Nancy and Rich Kinder Building, designed by Steven Holl Architects and opened in 2020; 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. mfah.org

Media Contact
Katie Jernigan, senior publicist
kjernigan@mfah.org | 713.639.7516