Make us your home page
Instagram

Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg to lose major impressionist works

ST. PETERSBURG — The Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg will soon say goodbye to a cache of works by some of the most beloved artists of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Works by Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Paul Cézanne and Paul Gauguin, among others, which have been displayed on gallery walls for decades, are being reclaimed by the estate of the deceased owner whose family placed them at the museum as long-term loans. The plan is to auction them at Christie's in New York in the spring.

"We want to emphasize that the Museum of Fine Arts is not selling these works," said Kristen A. Shepherd, executive director. "We are deeply grateful to the family for allowing us to share these stunning works with our visitors for over four decades."

The extended loans began in the 1970s and the loss — it is significant — will come as a surprise, even a shock, to many who assumed the works were part of the permanent collection. But they were from the private collection of Hunt Henderson, a collector who had what many considered the finest collection of European art of those periods in the southern United States.

Family members were friends of the museum's founder, Margaret Acheson Stuart, and shared the works. They also gave an important painting by Monet and two equally important paintings by Georgia O'Keeffe, including the iconic Poppy (1927) as gifts.

Gone will be two Monet paintings, including one portraying his beloved Giverny, another landscape by Cézanne, a genre painting, Woman Reading, by Renoir, and an Honoré Daumier work. The museum also will lose drawings and prints, not regularly on view, by James McNeill Whistler, Renoir, Edgar Degas and an antique mahogany armoire.

Henderson's son, Charles Crawford Henderson, died in 2016 and his heirs, who prefer to remain anonymous, decided to sell the works. A date for that hasn't been set, but given the prices for the artists in recent years, few museums, including the St. Petersburg one, could afford to compete.

Museums rely on loans both from other museums and private collectors. They are the backbone of special exhibitions that are usually conceived as a concept and illustrated by works from many lenders. They usually originate in a specific museum or company specializing in such shows and travel to many venues.

Museums also benefit from collectors who are willing to lend works to museums to enhance their permanent collections. In the example of the St. Petersburg museum, this loan was unusually long.

Still, this is a keen loss for the museum, which has a comprehensive collection spanning the eras and continents of human artistic endeavor. French Impressionist and post-Impressionist art, a small but choice selection on view, has been a cornerstone of the museum's draw for visitors and gaps in it will be obvious: no Renoir, for example, or Cézanne's lovely rendering of an orchard. But Monet's Houses of Parliament, Effect of Fog is staying along with other works reflective of the era.

If you go

The Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg, 255 Beach Drive NE, is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday, with extended hours to 8 p.m. Thursday, and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is adults $17, seniors and military with ID $15, college students with ID and youths 7 to 18 $10 and kids under 6 free. Thursday after 5 p.m. $ 5.

Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg to lose major impressionist works 02/16/17 [Last modified: Thursday, February 16, 2017 9:30pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Top things to do in Tampa Bay for Oct. 18

    Events

    Dali and Schiaparelli: Opening Day: A retrospective exhibit of designer Elsa Schiaparelli and her collaborations with Dali. It features gowns, accessories, sketches, objects and photos, as well as new designs from the House of Schiaparelli. Remains on display through Jan. 14. 10 a.m., Dali Museum, 1 Dali Blvd. …

  2. Fresh figs take a starring role in this fig cake

    Cooking

    Figs are showy fruit.

    They can't help themselves. Even the plainest, drabbest fig will reveal a scarlet belly, flecked with shimmering seeds, once you take a bite. Whether they're sliced or halved, arranged in a tart shell, on a crostini or just on a plate, there are few visions more enticing. This is why most fig …

    Chopping fresh figs and folding them into cake batter is not something you usually see, but that’s exactly what happens in this recipe for fig cake.
  3. As Faith Hill and Tim McGraw come to Tampa, here's why their love fascinates and endures

    Music & Concerts

    Eight years ago, Tim McGraw and Faith Hill stood on the sidelines of Raymond James Stadium, waiting for Hill's cue to perform America the Beautiful before Super Bowl XLIII. He held her hand and they kissed as the Steelers, Cardinals and a television audience of 150 million waited in the wings.

    Faith Hill and Tim McGraw perform during the “Soul2Soul” World Tour at Staples Center on July 14 in Los Angeles.
  4. From the food editor: Five things I'm enjoying in the food world right now

    Cooking

    Sometimes your notebook is scribbled with little thoughts here and there, things you come across in the food world and want to share but aren't sure how or when. Well, folks, I need to get some of this off my chest. Here is a somewhat random collection of culinary things I am really enjoying right now:

    Espresso Sea Salt Cookie Sandwiches with a cooked buttercream frosting, from St. Petersburg home bakery Wandering Whisk Bakeshop. Photo by Jennifer Jacobs.
  5. Michael McDonald and Kenny Loggins: Yacht rock paradise at the Clearwater Jazz Holiday

    Music & Concerts

    Frosty wine coolers and a misty sunset sea breeze. White linen pants and a tilted captain's hat. Coconut milk and an awful lot of rum.

    Kenny Loggins performs during Little Kids Rock Benefit 2016 at Capitale on October 5, 2016 in New York City.