West Coast Premiere Of European Masterworks Exhibition

July 11–September 23, 2001
Contact: Anna Koster, Public Relations Manager, 650-725-4657

Stanford, CA, May 23, 2001—An exhibition of 58 masterworks of late 18th- to early 20th-century European painting and sculpture opens for its premiere West Coast viewing on Wednesday, July 11 at Stanford University's Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Center for Visual Arts. The exhibition brings great names of art history—Degas, Cézanne, Corot, Manet, Mondrian, Monet, Picasso, Renoir, Rodin, Seurat, and more—to the Bay Area for its only California showing. The exhibition's presentation at Stanford, which continues through September 23, is made possible by a generous grant from Deutsche Bank and Deutsche Banc Alex. Brown.

Entitled Corot to Picasso: European Masterworks from the Smith College Museum of Art, the exhibition is drawn from one of the nation's foremost teaching collections. Smith College Museum of Art, Northampton, Massachusetts, organized Corot to Picasso from the nearly 25,000 artworks collected by the college over its 126-year history. While the museum is closed for expansion in 2001 and 2002, the exhibition will travel to major museums across the U.S.

Free to the public at the Cantor Arts Center, Corot to Picasso features a jewel-like study by Georges Seurat for A Sunday on the Island of La Grande Jatte. Oil paintings by Impressionist Claude Monet include two landscapes and a view of the Rouen Cathedral. Three works by Pablo Picasso indicate the range of his art: a Blue Period painting, a classical nude, and a Cubist masterpiece, considered one of the icons of 20th-century art.

The exhibition, curated at Stanford by the Cantor Arts Center's Chief Curator Bernard Barryte, is particularly rich in Impressionist and Post-Impressionist works. In addition to the paintings by Monet and Seurat, there are canvases by Edouard Manet, Edgar Degas, Pierre Renoir, Henri Fantin-Latour, Berthe Morisot, Paul Cézanne, Odilon Redon and Paul Gauguin.

Other 19th-century artistic traditions include the Barbizon School, with landscapes by Jean François Millet, Thèodore Rousseau, Diaz de la Peña and Camille Corot. Paintings by Anne-Louis Girodet-Trioson and by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres show Neoclassicism's emphasis on line and sculptural quality. One canvas by Thèodore Chasseriau and another attributed to Eugène Delacroix demonstrate the sweep and dash of the romantic movement. Sculptures by Degas, Auguste Rodin, Constantin Meunier, Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux and Albert Ernest Carrier-Belleuse round out the display of 19th-century masters.

In addition to the paintings by Picasso, innovations of the early 20th century are illustrated in works by Henri Rousseau, Pierre Bonnard, Wassily Kandinsky, Juan Gris, Fernand Léger, Piet Mondrian, and Vanessa Bell. The great German Expressionist Ernst Ludwig Kirchner is represented by the large, vibrantly-colored painting of Dodo and her Brother (1908-20).

Soon after its 1875 founding, Smith College began emphasizing the study of art. "Unfinished" works were acquired because they allow immediate insight into the working methods of the masters. These include two monumental paintings in the exhibition. One by Gustave Courbet, once titled Preparation of the Bride (circa 1850-55), was originally intended to portray a more somber subject. The second is Degas's history painting Jephthah's Daughter (1859-60). In addition, the exhibition's superb Paul Cézanne painting La Route Tournante à la Roche Guyon shows the pencil drawing below the painted composition.

Linda Muehlig, Associate Curator of the Smith College Museum of Art, presents a free, public lecture about Corot to Picasso on Wednesday, July 11 at 12:15 p.m., in the Cantor Arts Center auditorium. Docents provide free public tours of Corot to Picasso on Thursdays at 12:15 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. Tours do not require a reservation for groups of 10 or fewer; call 650-723-3469 to request tours for larger groups. The Center is open Wednesday-Sunday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m., Thursday until 8 p.m. Admission is free. Call 650-723-4177 for information.

Smith College Museum of Art and Corot to Picasso: European Masterworks from the Smith College Museum of Art

Founded in 1875, Smith College is a distinguished liberal arts college committed to providing the highest quality undergraduate education for women. The undergraduate student population, numbering approximately 2,400, is taught by some 400 faculty members.

The Smith College Museum of Art owns nearly 25,000 objects ranging in date from 2,500 B.C.E. to the present. Although the Smith College Museum of Art began in 1879 as a collection of contemporary American works (one of the first acquisitions was a painting by Thomas Eakins), the museumÕs first director, Alfred Vance Churchill, expanded the collecting focus in the early 20th century. One of his first purchases of European art in 1914 was RodinÕs small bronze, Children with a Lizard, which is in this exhibition. Asked by the College Board of Trustees to develop a collecting policy, Churchill devised the "Concentration Plan." He selected for emphasis "not a nation or school but a topic—the Development of Modern Art," whose starting point began with the French Revolution. This decision led to the remarkable strengths of the museum's 19th- and early 20th-century collections, both of European and American art.

Corot to Picasso: European Masterworks from the Smith College Museum of Art is traveling to the following venues:

• John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, Florida (3/10/01-5/27/01)
•Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Center for Visual Arts Stanford University, Stanford, California (7/11/01- 9/30/01)
•Marion Koogler McNay Art Museum, San Antonio, Texas (11/12/01-1/20/02)
• Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C. (2/16/02-5/1/02)
•Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, Washington (6/20/02-9/5/02)

The museum's building project is part of the expansion of the entire Fine Arts Center at Smith College which will result in a larger, state-of-the-art facility to benefit students, faculty, the college community as a whole, and all future visitors, as well.

In addition to Corot to Picasso, the museum is overseeing two other traveling exhibitions: American Spectrum Masterworks of American Painting and Sculpture from the Smith College Museum of Art (seven venues; visit web site www.smith.edu/artmuseum for more information), and Master Drawings from the Smith College Museum of Art (The Frick Collection, New York and The Uffizi, Florence, Italy).

Smith College Museum of Art Press Contact: Margi Caplan, 413-585-3587

Smith College Director of Media Relations: Laurie Fenlason, 413-585-2190