Bloch Family To Finance $11.7 Million Nelson-Atkins Museum Renovation

Marion and Henry Bloch. Photo: Courtesy Block Family Foundation.

The Bloch Family Foundation will finance a major two-year, $11.7 million renovation of Kansas City’s Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in order for the museum to house an expanded permanent collection of Impressionist and post-Impressionist works. The gift comes in conjunction with a donation of 29 paintings from the personal collection of Henry and Marion Bloch. In 2010, the Blochs promised the works to the museum during a celebration of its 75th anniversary.

The Kansas City Star reports the formal announcement made today, April 8, saying that work will begin on the museum as early as this summer.

The Bloch trove will be folded into the museum’s existing collection on its expanded main floor and will more than double the number of Impressionist and post-Impressionist pieces on display. No total value has been placed on the Bloch collection, which includes works by blue chip artists like Manet, Monet, Gaugin, Cézanne, Degas, Van Gogh, Renoir, Picasso, and Matisse.

Édouard Manet, The Croquet Party (La partie de croquet) (1871). Photo: Courtesy the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.

Édouard Manet, The Croquet Party (La partie de croquet) (1871).
Photo: Courtesy the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.

“They’ll be much happier in the museum, hanging among other paintings by the same artists,” said Henry Bloch. “I had originally imagined this gift in the future, but I am so happy to support it happening now…Planning this renovation project has given me and my family a great deal of joy.”

Needless to say, the museum powers that be are happy about the additions to their collection and the funds that will enable the institution to properly display them. “Seeing that most every Bloch Collection object will be on view is a testament to the incredible quality of this collection,” said Steve Waterman, director of presentation.

“Too often, gifts of wonderful works of art are accompanied by no money, (giving) short shrift to presentation of the gift,” agreed Philippe de Montebello, the former director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. “Providing funds for the restoration shows a very high level of enlightenment on the part of Henry Bloch and his family.”

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