Published: March 9, 2004
“Bonjour, Monsieur Courbet!” will feature the Bruyas Collection from the Musee Fabre, Montpellier at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, March 26-June 13.
Alfred Bruyas, who appears in one of the major paintings of the Nineteenth Century (“The Meeting” or “Bonjour, Monsieur Courbet” by Gustave Courbet), also earned a place in the history of French art by adding then-contemporary art to the collection of the Musee Fabre in his native city of Montpellier. This important international exhibition will investigate his artistic preferences, his friendships with renowned painters such as Delacroix, Courbet, Millet, Tassaert and Rousseau, and his determination to create a collection that would showcase the best of French painting of his time.
In 1854, Bruyas invited Courbet to spend time in Montpellier, where the artist painted his masterpiece, “The Meeting,” in which patron Bruyas is seen welcoming the artist to his town. The painting is one of the treasures of the Musee Fabre and a key work in any understanding of Nineteenth Century modernity.
Bruyas had an immense sense of mission and an obsession with his own role as a patron of the arts. His collection is a fascinating record of one of the most colorful collectors of Nineteenth Century France. Seen as an ensemble, it reveals unexpected dimensions of Bruyas’s taste. Paintings by Courbet, Delacroix, Cabanel, Millet and Fromentin are included, together with animalier sculptures and watercolors by Barye and an exceptional selection of drawings by artists such as Delacroix, Ingres, Huet and Rousseau.
The exhibition has been made possible by FRAME (French Regional and American Museums Exchange), a consortium of 18 French and American art museums. In Virginia, the exhibition is supported in part by the Julia Louise Reynolds Fund.
The show will travel to Sterling & Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Mass. (June 27-September 6); Dallas Museum of Art (October 17-January 2, 2005); Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco (January 22-April 4, 2005).
The Virginia Museum of Art is at 2800 Grove Avenue. For information, 804-340-1400 or www.vmfa.state.va.us.
5 Church Hill Road / Newtown, CT 06470
Mon - Fri / 8:00 am - 5:01 pm