Holiday celebrations this year for art lovers will include revelry over the recent announcement by the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville that they are launching a four-year collaboration between itself, the musée du Louvre, the High Museum of Art, and the Terra Foundation for American Art. Curators from each of the partnering institutions are working together to shape the themes and installations, and works will be drawn from the collections of all four institutions. The first installation premieres at the Louvre on January 14, 2012 before traveling to the other collaborating museums, and will explore the birth of American landscape painting through the works of Thomas Cole and Asher B. Durand. In addition to works by Cole and Durand, the installation will include an earlier painting by Pierre-Antoine Patel the Younger which inspired Cole's work after the artist saw it in Paris.
At each of the museums the works will be displayed within their permanent collections galleries to add new dimension and nuance to the museums' own holdings. The six paintings in the inaugural installation, titled "New Frontier: Thomas Cole and the Birth of Landscape Painting in America," at the Louvre and "American Encounters: Thomas Cole and the Narrative Landscape" at the two American venues, include:
- Thomas Cole, The Cross in Wilderness, 1845 (Louvre)
- Thomas Cole, Landscape with Figures: A Scene from 'The Last of the Mohicans', 1826 (Terra Foundation)
- Thomas Cole, The Good Shepherd, 1848 (Crystal Bridges)
- Thomas Cole, The Tempest, 1826 (High)
- Asher B. Durand, View near Rutland, Vermont, 1837 (High)
- Pierre-Antoine Patel the Younger, The Summer, 1699 (Louvre)
Following its premiere at the Louvre, the works will travel to Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, AR (May 12 — August 13, 2012) and the High Museum in Atlanta, GA (September 22, 2012 — January 6, 2013). The organizing themes of future installations and their tour schedules will be announced at a later date.
On January 14, 2012, in coordination with the opening of its installation, the Louvre is hosting a symposium, "American Art: New Projects and Installations at the Louvre and at Museums in the United States and Around the World" that will feature presentations by the leadership of all four partnering institutions and other speakers including Guillermo Solana, chief curator and artistic director of Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid, and Bruce Robertson, art history professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Among the topics that will be addressed are the re-installation of American art collections and the development of distinguished private and public collections of American art. The symposium and a program at the Louvre on February 13 are supported by American Friends of the Louvre and the Mark Pigott Lecture and Research Fund.
Click here for a full symposium schedule.
"For the past several years, the Louvre has been revitalizing its interest in American art," said Henri Loyrette, president and director of the Louvre. "We have partnered with various institutions to organize exhibitions and conferences about American art and will continue to do so as we strive to build our own collection in this area. This project is a natural extension of our previous collaborations with the High and the Terra, and responds to a great demand for seeing and studying American art in France."
"As the newest museum devoted to the study and presentation of American art, we are a natural partner in this collaboration," said Don Bacigalupi, director of Crystal Bridges. "We are excited to share works from our collection and spread awareness about American art history worldwide."
In addition to lending works from its distinguished collection of American art, the Terra Foundation is providing a grant to support the collaboration.