Chester Dale's magnificent bequest to the National Gallery of Art in 1962 included a generous endowment as well as one of America's most important collections of French painting from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This special exhibition, the first in 45 years to explore the extraordinary legacy left to the nation by this passionate collector, features some 83 of his finest French and American paintings.
Among the masterpieces on view are Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot'sForest of Fontainebleau (1834), Auguste Renoir's A Girl with a Watering Can (1876), Mary Cassatt's Boating Party (1893/1894), Edouard Manet's Old Musician (1862), Pablo Picasso's Family of Saltimbanques(1905), and George Bellows' Blue Morning (1909). Other artists represented include Paul Cézanne, Edgar Degas, Vincent van Gogh, Henri Matisse, Amedeo Modigliani, and Claude Monet.
Dale was an astute businessman who made his fortune on Wall Street in the bond market. He thrived on forging deals and translated much of this energy and talent into his art collecting. He served on the board of the National Gallery of Art from 1943 and as president from 1955 until his death in 1962. Portraits of Dale by Salvador Dalí and Diego Rivera are included in the show, along with portraits of Dale's wife Maud (who greatly influenced his interest in art) painted by George Bellows and Fernand Léger.
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