Lawrence J. Wheeler, Director, North Carolina Museum of Art
, today announced a promised gift to the Museum from the collection of Josie and Julian Robertson, of New York. The gift includes four paintings by important European Impressionist and modern artists. In addition to Picassos "Seated Woman, Red and Yellow Background" (1952), they are "The Bridge at Moret on an April Morning" (1888), by Alfred Sisley; "The Bridge at Poissy" (1905), by Maurice de Vlaminck; and "Fishing Boat" (Red Sky) (1916), by Emil Nolde. The first of the promised works to be on public view will be Picassos superb portrait of his lover Françoise Gilot, which will be installed in the Museums new building when it opens on April 24.
Dr. Wheeler states, The North Carolina Museum of Art is elated to receive this generous promised gift from the Robertsons. These works, by major School of Paris painters, will both fill a gap in and beautifully complement the Museums collection, enabling it to present more fully the story of the birth of modern art.
Julian Robertson, a native of Salisbury, NC, and a graduate of the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, adds, I grew up in North Carolina, graduated from the University of North Carolina, and continue to have deep ties to the state. Josie and I are thrilled to know that North Carolinians will get to know and enjoy these pictures as much as we have.
Picassos visually complex, expressive portrait of Gilot was painted at the end of their turbulent relationship. Gilot sits in a studio chair, hand cradling her chin, eyes wandering. But within the rectangle of the painting, she remains very much Picassos subject, the pretext for a virtuosic performance of the artists compositional and technical brilliance.
While the North Carolina Museum of Art is known for its strong group of modern German paintings, it never had comparable School of Paris works, notes John Coffey, the Museums Deputy Director for Art. The promised gift of these wonderful pictures ensures that the Museum will have a solid representation of French modernists, including the exceptionally vivid portrait by Picassothe first work by this artist to enter the Museums collection.