High Museum gets works by Toulouse-Lautrec, Degas, Gauguin

These two works, “The Clowness at the Moulin Rouge,” and “Ambassadeurs: AristideBruant,” are part of a catalogue of 53 European master works bequeathed to the High Museum by Atlanta collectors Irene and Howard Stein.
These two works, “The Clowness at the Moulin Rouge,” and “Ambassadeurs: AristideBruant,” are part of a catalogue of 53 European master works bequeathed to the High Museum by Atlanta collectors Irene and Howard Stein.

Credit: High Museum of Art

Credit: High Museum of Art

Prints, posters and sculptures bequeathed by Irene and Howard Stein.

In a notable expansion of its European art collection, the High Museum of Art has received 53 works by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Edgar Degas, Paul Gauguin and Martin Desjardins, as part of a major bequest.

The gift, from Atlanta collectors Irene and Howard Stein, which includes sculptures, prints and posters, is part of a larger bequest made by Steins, the museum announced on Wednesday. Included are 41 prints and posters and 10 sculptures by Toulouse-Lautrec, Degas, Gauguin and Desjardins; a drawing by Degas; and an oil painting by Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux.

This is one of 53 European works bequeathed to the High Museum of Art by Atlanta collectors Irene and Howard Stein.
This is one of 53 European works bequeathed to the High Museum of Art by Atlanta collectors Irene and Howard Stein.

Credit: High Museum of Art

Credit: High Museum of Art

“Each of the artworks in this gift are of unquestionable historical and artistic importance, and the artists represented are celebrated in collections around the world,” said Claudia Einecke, the High’s curator of European art. “We look forward to sharing the works with our audiences in forthcoming installations and exhibitions.”

The Steins have served as High board members and in 2010 gave the High the first in several works that were part of the bequest. During the last 30 years, the couple has given the High 20 other works and helped the museum acquire 11 more, according to a statement from the museum.

“As longstanding supporters of the High, the Steins were instrumental in the growth of our distinguished European art collection,” said High director, Rand Suffolk in a statement. “We are incredibly grateful for their generosity and honored to steward the care and presentation of these artworks for future generations.”

The bulk of this latest gift reflects the significant private collection the Steins have of Toulouse-Lautrec’s work. In a review of the High’s 2011 “Toulouse-Lautrec & Friends” show, former Atlanta Journal-Constitution art critic Catherine Fox said that by being the first to add bold images to posters when most businesses were only using text, he transformed the genre.

“Toulouse-Lautrec instinctively understood the basics of advertising—grab the viewer immediately and communicate in a flash—and he made an art of them,” Fox wrote.

The posters significantly expand the High’s existing collection of Toulouse-Lautrec’s work. And the addition of prints by Degas, Gauguin, Pierre Bonnard and Paul Signac, further bolsters the museum’s European holdings. It could be some time, however, before any of the works in this latest gift are included in an exhibition.

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