June 9, 2007—September 9, 2007
The Marion and Henry Bloch Collection is one of the finest of its kind, featuring such great Impressionist, Post-Impressionist and early modern artists as Claude Monet, Edgar Degas, Paul Gauguin, Vincent van Gogh, Paul Cézanne and Henri Matisse. In the mid-1970s, Henry Bloch, the co-founder of the financial services firm, H&R Block, first began to buy Impressionist pictures with his wife, Marion. Over some thirty years, they have assembled a collection of thirty masterpieces (twenty-five oil paintings, three pastels, one watercolor and one sculpture) with special care and diligence. The exceptional quality of the collection has been underpinned by the Blochs’ willingness to draw on the advice of experts in the field, including a wide range of curators and conservators. This exhibition is a landmark display since it represents the first time that the complete collection has been exhibited in public.
The Bloch Collection is characterized by works of rich color and scintillating brushwork, representing a fascinating overview of the richness of avant-garde French painting from the mid-19th to the early-20th century. The Impressionists, and their avant-garde heirs, were radical in their own time, reacting against the French Academy’s established rules for painting. The works in the Bloch Collection highlight these artists’ pioneering interest in the painting of modern life in contrast to the academic preference for religious and history painting. The Bloch paintings also emphasize the Impressionists’ radical style that shocked contemporaries with their “sketchy” technique—in contrast to the polished surfaces of academic painting—and their use of pure, unmixed color.
This exhibition is sponsored by The H & R Block Foundation. Midwest Airlines is the official airline sponsor.