The North Carolina Museum of Art


The European collection is the crown jewel of the Museum, as was intended from the founding of the institution. From the start the collection was planned to provide a strong, in-depth survey of European art from the 14th to the 19th century. Of the 139 paintings and sculptures purchased with the original appropriation, 123 were European. When these paintings were augmented by the 75 primarily Italian paintings and sculptures given to the Museum by the Samuel H. Kress Foundation in 1961, they created a European collection that is recognized as one of the finest in the United States. Although it includes a number of noteworthy sculptures (in particular the 13th-century Parisian ivory and the Auvergne Madonna and Child, the Tino da Camaino roundel, Koellin’s Madonna of the Protective Cloak, Riemenschneider’s Female Saint, the Neptune attributed to Cellini, the Canova-studio Venus Italica, and Carpeaux’s Genie de la Danse), it has been primarily a collection of  paintings. The acquisition of nearly 30 bronzes by Auguste Rodin—a gift from the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Foundation—will assuredly change this perception.