Published: March 14, 2006
The James A. Michener Art Museum announces “An Enduring Gift: The Marguerite and Gerry Lenfest Collection” on view March 18 through July 2. This exhibition commemorates the Lenfests’ entire gift of paintings and is the first time the complete collection of 62 paintings will be on exhibit at the museum. It will take three galleries to exhibit the entire collection.
In 1999, the Lenfests placed their collection of 59 exceptional Pennsylvania Impressionist paintings in trust to the Michener and provided a $3 million endowment to help care for the collection. A few years later the Lenfests assisted the Michener in acquiring three additional works, including two major paintings by Edward W. Redfield that were saved from the auction block. Last year the Lenfests converted this entire trust to an outright gift. The addition of these 62 paintings means that the Michener Art Museum has the finest collection of Bucks County art in public hands.
“An Enduring Gift: The Marguerite and Gerry Lenfest Collection” provides an opportunity to view the work of the major Pennsylvania Impressionist painters whose names have become synonymous with Bucks County’s visual heritage: Edward W. Redfield, Fern I. Coppedge, Daniel Garber, William L. Lathrop, John F. Folinsbee, Robert Spencer, Charles Rosen and others. During this exhibition visitors can see the quality of the entire Lenfest collection, which depicts the grandeur and rustic beauty of the Bucks County landscape.
In 2000, the Michener opened the permanent exhibition TheLenfest Exhibition of Pennsylvania Impressionism. This exhibitionis drawn largely from the Lenfests’ gift, as well as other museumholdings. This permanent exhibition tells the story of the renownedimpressionist art colony centered in New Hope in the earlyTwentieth century. At the close of An Enduring Gift: The Margueriteand Gerry Lenfest Collection in July, the permanent exhibition willreturn to the Museum’s Putnam-Smith Gallery.
The Lenfests have been building their art collection since the early 1990s, when they began to collect art created by painters who lived and worked in areas covered by Suburban Cable, which they owned. At that time the collection was displayed in the offices of the cable company. Since coming to the Michener, the Lenfest Collection has enhanced the museum’s collecting, research and educational functions at the most fundamental levels.
Curator of Collections Constance Kimmerle said, “The interpretation of Pennsylvania Impressionism goes beyond explaining a work’s composition and form to understanding its cultural reality. In gifting this collection back to the region in which it was created, the Lenfests have made it possible for museum visitors to engage the New Hope painters on their native ground and explore the environment that shaped their creations.”
The James A. Michener Art Museum is at 138 South Pine Street in Doylestown and at 500 Union Square Drive in New Hope. For information, www.michenerartmuseum.org or 215-340-9800.
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