Among the highlights of the Shaheen collection are:
- Three paintings by Claude Monet, including "Maison au bord de la route" from 1885.
- A portrait of a young girl by Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot.
- A still life of flowers by Henri Fantin-Latour.
- Two works by Henri Matisse, including "Femme assise devant son piano (Marguerite)," a study for a larger painting.
- "Portrait de Beatrice Hastings" by Modigliani.
- Three works by Camille Pissarro.
- Four paintings by Alfred Sisley, including the landscape "Une rue à Marly" from 1876.
Paintings donated by Doris and Shouky Shaheen are prepped to be installed in the couples’ namesake gallery at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta. (Alyssa Pointer/Atlanta Journal Constitution)
These are the first works by Fantin-Latour, Modigliani, Matisse and Sisley to enter the High’s collection.
The gift includes a landscape by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, but Shouky Shaheen said he thinks the High might need a little more Renoir. “There’s some holes in this collection,” said Shaheen, 90. “I’m going to try to fill them up.”
Shouky and Doris Shaheen met in Dalton in the 1950s, where she had family, and he was part of his family’s carpet business. (His father had originally emigrated from Palestine.)
The couple moved to Atlanta in 1965. He built a warehouse business into a sizable empire and the two became active philanthropists, donating to universities and hospitals.
The Shaheens began collecting impressionist paintings in the 1970s, mostly through the auctions at Christie’s and Sotheby’s.
Shouky Shaheen — who retired at 88 but still goes into work most weekdays — isn’t done yet. On Nov. 13, while preparators were busy installing the Shaheen collection at the High, Shaheen was on the phone with Sotheby’s, bidding on a country scene by Camille Pissarro.
The painting is called “La Mère Jolly raccomodant,” and depicts a woman seated in a courtyard, working on her sewing. It failed to sell back in May and was being offered at a reduced price, and Shaheen couldn’t resist. “It’s a museum-sized painting,” he said of the 39-by-31-inch canvas. “It’s pretty big. I think the High will like it.”
The Doris and Shouky Shaheen Collection
High Museum of Art
1280 Peachtree St. NE, Atlanta. 404-733-4444, high.org.