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Superstars of Modern Art on View at Detroit Institute of Arts
Salvador Dalí (Spanish, 1904–1989). The Dream (Le rêve), 1931. Oil on canvas; The Cleveland Museum of Art, John L. Severance Fund 2001.34 © The Cleveland Museum of Art.

DETROIT.- An extraordinary “who’s who” of modern art masters, including Monet, Dali, van Gogh, Renoir, Degas, Matisse, Picasso and Rodin—to name just a few—will be on view at the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) Oct. 12, 2008–Jan. 18, 2009. Through 75 paintings and sculptures, visitors will be immersed in one of the most fascinating periods in the history of art—the gradual shift from a reliance on artistic tradition to an insistence on individual innovation at the turn of the 20th century.

“We anticipate that Monet to Dali will be very popular with our visitors,” said Graham W. J. Beal, DIA director. “Although the Cleveland collection contains the work of many artists familiar from our own, we can see how two such similar institutions with similar goals created collections that differ so much in detail.”

In keeping with the DIA’s approach in the permanent collection galleries, the exhibition is organized into themes, with five sections, each exploring a powerful influence on modern artists. Claude Monet’s painting The Wheat Field introduces a gallery of landscapes that evoke the calm of the countryside and contrasts traditional landscape painting with more modern approaches. The next section features art that looks at the underlying anxieties of the evolving modern world, including a large-scale Blue Period Picasso and a late work by van Gogh. Cubist paintings by Picasso and Braque, as well as the pure order and balance of Piet Mondrian, are included in the third section, on the new-found sense of freedom to experiment. The fourth section focuses on the influence of psychology and artists’ attempts to express an inner life, and includes the Surrealist painting The Dream by Salvador Dalí. Scenes of café life and elegant portraits of urban sophisticates by Edgar Degas and Henri Matisse are in the final section that focuses on the energy and dynamism of urban life. Together these exceptional works illustrate how modern art has depicted our world and why it has so captured the popular imagination.

Just as Monet to Dalí explores ways in which society, modern life, and emotions have influenced these artists, it also invites viewers to engage in thinking about their own responses to the paintings. “Personal

Connections” labels highlight a selection of works that resonate with curators, educators, or the director. The audio tour weaves personal responses into art-historical discussions. A “Dialogue” room within the museum affords visitors the opportunity to learn more about the works as well as try their hand at organizing a mock exhibition. Visitors can enter their thoughts and feelings about the works at computer stations at the end of the exhibition, or later on the DIA Web site (

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