In thisexhibition more than seventy works of French and European masters such as Degas, Manet, Monet, Morisot, Gericault, Renoir, Rousseau and Van Gogh are represented. This exhibition is dedicated to the outstanding gift of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon to the French art of the XIX and early XX centuries.
Having become interested in British sports art for the first time, Paul Mellon began collecting 19th-century French art in the 1940s with his second wife Rachel Lambert Mellon. Although their collection mainly consists of Impressionist paintings, it also includes masterpieces from all important schools of French art, from romanticism and barbizon to cubism to Parisian school. Taken together, these works illustrate Mellon's personal vision and highly original collection strategies that provide the context for understanding this unique collection.
Visitors will get acquainted with the two most characteristic paintings of the collection: “A Young Woman Waters a Bush” by Bertha Morisot and “Jockey” by Theodore Gericault. These paintings symbolize the collection in their commitment to modernism, as well as their subject matter, which attracted Mrs. Mellon's love of gardening and Mr. Mellon's passion for horses and races.