The University of Virginia Art Museum
presents Matisse, Picasso, and Modern Art in Paris: The T. Catesby Jones Collections at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and the University of Virginia Art Museum. This exhibition reunites works of art that were given in 1947 as bequests to two Virginia institutions, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA) and the University of Virginia.
The selection of 88 works from the Jones collections at VMFA and the U.Va. Art Museum includes masterpieces of modern French art from the years 19041946. The exhibition encompasses many of the key artists, innovative styles, and central themes that emerged and developed during a crucial period in the history of modern art. The artists represented include such figures as Georges Braque, Marc Chagall, Raoul Dufy, Juan Gris, Jacques Lipchitz, André Masson, Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso and Georges Rouault.
The exhibition has great scope and depth. It begins with the flowering of new modernist movements before and during World War I, with highlights in the work of Matisse and in cubism. Next are presented the diversity of major interwar art currents, with a strong suit in surrealism, said Matthew Affron, curator of modern art at the U.Va. Art Museum and co-curator of the exhibition.
The show concludes with the tragic and transformative World War II period, when many of the best-known French modernists fled Paris for New York. Jones was personally acquainted with several of these emigré artists, including Masson and Lipchitz, and he continued to collect their newest work until the time of his death in 1946.
The collector T. Catesby Jones (18801946) came from a family with a long and distinguished history in Virginias Tidewater region. He graduated from the University of Virginia School of Law in the class of 1902 and had a prominent career in New York as an admiralty lawyer. Jones' greatest passion was modern French art. He collected the work of his favorite artists in depth and across media: not only paintings and sculpture but also drawings, prints, artists' books, and textiles. In 1947, the paintings, sculptures, and some works on paper went to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond, of which Jones was a trustee. In the same year, his very significant holdings in prints and illustrated books went to the University of Virginia; a major portion of that gift was transferred to the U.Va. Art Museum in 1975.
Matisse, Picasso, and Modern Art in Paris is the first comprehensive assessment of Jones legacy as a collector. The exhibition is co-organized by the two Virginia institutions that Jones favored in his bequests. It represents a major research and curatorial collaboration between those two institutions. Co-curator John B. Ravenal, the Sydney and Frances Lewis Family Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, says the exhibition and catalogue demonstrate the mutual benefits of collaboration. Both institutions gained enormously from the partnership, which brought fresh scholarly perspective to a treasure trove of important art.
Catalogue - Matisse, Picasso, and Modern Art in Paris is accompanied by a comprehensive, fully-illustrated 150-page catalogue. It contains essays by the co-curators, Matthew Affron, curator of modern art, U.Va. Art Museum; and John B. Ravenal, Sydney and Frances Lewis Family Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, VMFA; and scholarly entries on 24 artists in the exhibition by current and former U.Va. graduate students.
The Exhibition Matisse, Picasso, and Modern Art in Paris is organized by the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, Va., and the University of Virginia Art Museum, Charlottesville, Va. The exhibition is sponsored at the University of Virginia by the U.Va. Art Museum Volunteer Board; the Eugene V. and Clare E. Thaw Charitable Trust, the Carl H. and Martha S. Lindner Center for Art History, the Enhancement Fund of the Office of the Vice Provost for the Arts, and Arts$. The exhibition is also generously supported by a grant from Altria for VMFA traveling exhibitions and the Fabergé Ball Endowment of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.
Matisse, Picasso, and Modern Art in Paris will be presented at four venues in Virginia in 2009-10: the University of Virginia Art Museum (Jan. 30, 2009 April 24, 2009); Museum of the Shenandoah Valley in Winchester (Aug. 15 Nov. 29, 2009); William King Regional Art Center in Abingdon (Dec. 11, 2009 Feb. 21, 2010); Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond (April June 2010).