Dienstag, 2. Februar 2010

Art review: Chester Dale Collection makes a strong showing in National Gallery exhibit

By Kevin Conley
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
Back in the prime of the past century, Chester Dale, a pugnacious New York trader, and his wife, Maud, an older and fashionable former divorcee, expended a great deal of their wealth and energy on what they liked to call their "children" -- their vast and uniformly excellent collection of mostly French art, now on display at the National Gallery.

As parents go, the Dales were what sociologists of the playground now call "helicopters" -- hovering, overshadowing presences, ready to swoop in at the slightest indication of distress. They seem to have duked it out with nearly every major museum east of the Mississippi: the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Philadelphia Museum, the Art Institute of Chicago. They lent recognized works of genius, then pulled them out at will. They were infuriating, quasi-czarist figures who intimidated gallery guards, scandalized French dealers and offended the old-money milquetoasts who tangled with them on museum boards. They were, in other words, an irresistible force.

In the end, their machinations succeeded, maybe even too well: The vigorous Dale bequest is, arguably, the cornerstone collection of the National Gallery; their widescreen Manet ("The Old Musician") and their rose- and blue-period Picassos, especially "Family of Saltimbanques" and "The Tragedy," make for destination viewing; "Girl With a Watering Can," their sunny Renoir, continues to be one of best-selling postcard images in the world. Via: www.washingtonpost.com

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