New Picasso, New Building

Pablo Picasso, Seated Woman, Red and Yellow Background, 1952

Alfred Sisley, The Bridge at Moret on an April Morning, 1888

Maurice de Vlaminck, The Bridge at Poissy (Le Pont de Poissy), 1905

Emil Nolde, Fishing Boat (Red Sky), 1916

The Museum will be the recipient of a major donation of paintings from the collection of Julian and Josie Robertson of New York City. The paintings are four works by late 19th- and 20th-century European masters. In 2001 and again in 2008 we presented an exhibition of works from the Robertson’s collection. The star of both exhibitions was a striking portrait of a nude, pensive woman by Pablo Picasso (Seated Woman, Red and Yellow Background, 1952). That portrait of the artist’s soon-to-be ex-mistress Françoise Gilot will be coming to Raleigh, first as a loan for the Grand Opening of the new gallery building, and later as a gift.

Two other paintings in this promised donation feature similar river towns and an arching bridge, but they could not be more different. One by the Anglo-French Impressionist Alfred Sisley (The Bridge at Moret on an April Morning, 1888) is all sunny tranquility. In contrast, The Bridge at Poissy (1905) by Maurice de Vlaminck is stridently colored and agitated as though the artist had drunk five too many espressos. The fourth painting is a Wagnerian seascape by the German expressionist Emil Nolde (Fishing Boat [Red Sky]), painted in 1916 in the midst of World War I.

The Sisley joins our two Monets (The Seine at Giverny, Morning Mists and  The Cliff, Etretat, Sunset) and one Pissarro in giving us a strong core collection of French Impressionists. The Nolde contributes a bold new subject to our group of German expressionist paintings. The Vlaminck leaps beyond Impressionism into the wilder territory of the Fauves where things are as strongly felt as they are seen. And the Picasso gives us our first Picasso. Enough said.

Together, these four paintings constitute one of the most significant gifts of art in our history. So, sound the trumpets!


  1. Rick Pardue
    Posted February 24, 2010 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

    The eventual addition of two significant School of Paris paintings to the NCMA’s collection is indeed a reason for “sounding the trumpets.”

    Thanks John, for the announcement of these spectacular promised gifts! Please convey ‘our’ collective gratitude for this benefaction from one of North Carolina’s most accomplished and generous native sons.

  2. M.bottlinger
    Posted February 25, 2010 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

    Emil Nolde has always been one of my favorite expressionist painter. Last year, I viewed his work at his studio/museum in Northern Germany.Fantastic!

    How wonderful to add one of his painting to the collection of the NC Museum of Art.

  3. David Thoenen
    Posted February 25, 2010 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

    Having walked the banks of the river through Moret, AND given that Sisley is my favorite impressionist (OK, I really like Pissaro, too), I have to say that the addition of the Sisley to our collection is more exciting to me than all of the attention being given to the Picasso. I have regretted the lack of a Sisley in the collections in the past. Now I’m happy. My thanks to the Robertsons.

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  1. [...] performers and NC potters along the way. Take a stroll through the building and be sure to see the Picasso in the modern and contemporary galleries, the expansive European collection, and of course, the two [...]

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