The Philadelphia Museum of Art is the recipient of two major painting gifts: a suite of five French Impressionist works by Paul Cézanne, Édouard Manet, Camille Pissarro, and Berthe Morisot, and a pair of early portraits by Marcel Duchamp.
Although all seven works are already on view in the museum’s galleries, the gifts still mark a substantial addition to the institution’s holdings, which already boast the world’s largest collection works by Duchamp with nearly 200 pieces, as well as a significant number of works by Cézanne.
The French paintings are a bequest from longtime supporter Helen Tyson Madeira, who died last year; she had served 20 years as an honorary museum trustee. The works are Cézanne’s Mont Sainte-Victoire (1902–06), Manet’s Basket of Fruit (1864), Pissarro’s Railroad to Dieppe (1886) and Avenue de l’Opéra: Morning Sunshine (1898), and Morisot’s Young Girl with Basket (1892). The Cézanne canvas, a major work from the artist’s later years, shows a mountain near his home Aix-en-Provence, and is displayed alongside another representation of the scene bearing a similar title, and The Large Bathers (1900–1906).
“The distinctive character of our collection is due largely to transformational gifts, almost all of which have come from Philadelphians who cared deeply about both this institution and their city,” Timothy Rub, the museum’s director and CEO, said in a statement. “The extraordinary paintings bequeathed to us by Helen Madeira had long been promised to the Museum and can now be seen in the context of the great collection that was a bequest from her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Carroll S. Tyson, Jr., more than five decades ago.”
Yolande Candel, whose father, Gustave Candel was a lifelong friend of Duchamp, donated two portraits of her grandparents dating to 1911–12, a pivotal period in the artist’s career. While Gustave’s father was portrayed realistically, his mother’s bust is unsettlingly mounted on a pole. “While growing up, I vividly recall Marcel expressing to my father his personal satisfaction with the fact that so much of his work remained together at the Philadelphia Museum of Art,” said Candel in a statement. “Furthermore, I think that both paintings would nicely complement the other early canvases by Marcel already in the museum’s collection.”
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