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High on art 

'Impressionists and their Influence' brings Monet, Renoir, Degas, more.

'WOMAN ARRANGING HER HAT': The High Museum of Art is sending this painting and 48 other pieces, including two Monets, to the Arts Center.
  • 'WOMAN ARRANGING HER HAT': The High Museum of Art is sending this painting and 48 other pieces, including two Monets, to the Arts Center.

Two paintings that have been described as the best Monets in the collection of the High Museum of Art in Atlanta will be part of the "The Impressionists and their Influence" exhibit opening April 1 at the Arkansas Arts Center.

Claude Monet's 1903 "Houses of Parliament in the Fog" (one of many paintings he made of the buildings) and "Autumn on the Seine Argenteuil" will travel along with other works from the High to Arkansas, where they'll join pieces from the Arts Center's collection in an exhibit designed to illustrate the progression of the Impressionist movement, begun in Paris in the 19th century by artists who broke from traditional painting constraints.

Among the 49 works the High is contributing is its recently acquired Renoir, "Woman Arranging Her Hat." Director of collections and exhibitions David Brenneman selected the works from the High in collaboration with Arts Center interim director Joe Lampo.

The Arts Center will complete the show with contributions from the Jackson T. Stephens Charitable Trust for Art — they will be familiar to Arts Center regulars — and private collectors. Visitors will get to see Arts Center holdings that aren't exhibited often because of the nature of the media, including "The Blue Dancer" pastel by Degas from the Stephens trust, a Corot etching, a Corbet oil on paper and a pastel by Paule Gobillard (Berthe Morisot's niece).

Lampo said the exhibition will set the stage with work by forerunners to the movement, including a pencil on paper by Barbizon school artist Charles-Francois Daubigny, and will show the Impressionists influence in America with works by artists Mary Cassatt, Theodore Robinson, Childe Hassam, Maurice Prendergast and others. There will also be other Renoirs, work by Manet, Cezanne, Bonnard, Vuillard, Van Gogh and Gaugin, "a beautiful Glackens" and "a couple of knockout Pissaros," Lampo said. The ratio of paintings to works on paper will be about half and half, Lampo said; a brochure will be printed for the show.

Lampo said the collaboration with the High Museum may develop into a more formal relationship that would include collection sharing and professional development for Arts Center curators. He described the Impressionist show as an "exploration" of how such a relationship, which might include a fee to the High, would work. Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, being built by Alice Walton in Bentonville, may, according to some reports, also enter into a collection-sharing agreement with the High.

There will be a $10 admission charge to non-members of the Arts Center ($8 seniors). The Arts Center has several events scheduled around the show, including lectures by curator Brennamen (6:30 p.m. April 21) and Kimberly Jones of the National Gallery of Art (6:30 p.m. May 19). Three French films, "Under the Roofs of Paris" (1930) (7 p.m. April 7), "The Story of Adele H." (1975) (7 p.m. May 5) and "Seraphine" (2008) (7 p.m. June 2), will be shown in the lecture hall. There will be a Family Fete with activities for children on April 9 and a "Fete de Mere" for Mother's Day on May 8.

Major sponsor for "The Impressionists and Their Influence" is Stephens Inc. Other sponsors include Dr. Terry Jefferson, the Bailey Foundation, Ruebel Funeral Home and Barbara and Steve Bova. 

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