Skip to main content

Louvre, High, Crystal Bridges and Terra Foundation Launch Multi-year Collaboration Devoted to American Art

BENTONVILLE, Ark., December 7, 2011
The musée du Louvre, the High Museum of Art, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, and the Terra Foundation for American Art today announced the launch of a four-year collaboration devoted to producing programming and annual, focused installations of American and European art. Curators from each of the partnering institutions are working together to shape the themes and installations, and works will be drawn from the collections of all four institutions. The first installation premieres at the Louvre on January 14, 2012 before traveling to the other collaborating museums, and will explore the birth of American landscape painting through the works of Thomas Cole and Asher B. Durand. In addition to works by Cole and Durand, the installation will include an earlier painting by Pierre-Antoine Patel the Younger which inspired Cole’s work after the artist saw it in Paris. The collaboration will launch on January 14 with a day-long symposium at the Louvre on the history of American art collections in the United States and Europe.

At each of the museums the works will be displayed within their permanent collections galleries to add new dimension and nuance to the museums’ own holdings. The six paintings in the inaugural installation, titled “New Frontier: Thomas Cole and the Birth of Landscape Painting in America,” at the Louvre and “American Encounters: Thomas Cole and the Narrative Landscape” at the two American venues, include:

  • Thomas Cole, The Cross in Wilderness, 1845 (Louvre)
  • Thomas Cole, Landscape with Figures: A Scene from ‘The Last of the Mohicans’, 1826 (Terra Foundation)
  • Thomas Cole, The Good Shepherd, 1848 (Crystal Bridges)
  • Thomas Cole, The Tempest, 1826 (High)
  • Asher B. Durand, View near Rutland, Vermont, 1837 (High)
  • Pierre-Antoine Patel the Younger, The Summer, 1699 (Louvre)

Following its premiere at the Louvre, the works will travel to Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, AR (May 12 — August 13, 2012) and the High Museum in Atlanta, GA (September 22, 2012 — January 6, 2013). The organizing themes of future installations and their tour schedules will be announced at a later date.

On January 14, 2012, in coordination with the opening of its installation, the Louvre is hosting a symposium, “American Art: New Projects and Installations at the Louvre and at Museums in the United States and Around the World” that will feature presentations by the leadership of all four partnering institutions and other speakers including Guillermo Solana, chief curator and artistic director of Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid, and Bruce Robertson, art history professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Among the topics that will be addressed are the re-installation of American art collections and the development of distinguished private and public collections of American art. The symposium and a program at the Louvre on February 13 are supported by American Friends of the Louvre and the Mark Pigott Lecture and Research Fund.
Click here for a full symposium schedule.

The High, musée du Louvre, and Terra Foundation have collaborated together on exhibitions and other projects in the past. Each institution, along with Crystal Bridges, is committed to sharing resources in order to broaden appreciation for and dialogue about American art.

“For the past several years, the Louvre has been revitalizing its interest in American art,” said Henri Loyrette, president and director of the Louvre. “We have partnered with various institutions to organize exhibitions and conferences about American art and will continue to do so as we strive to build our own collection in this area. This project is a natural extension of our previous collaborations with the High and the Terra, and responds to a great demand for seeing and studying American art in France.”

“As the newest museum devoted to the study and presentation of American art, we are a natural partner in this collaboration,” said Don Bacigalupi, director of Crystal Bridges. “We are excited to share works from our collection and spread awareness about American art history worldwide.”

“This collaboration extends the High’s ongoing strategy of establishing partnerships with museums throughout the world,” said Michael E. Shapiro, the High’s Nancy and Holcombe T. Green, Jr., Director. “This partnership not only enables us to bring important works of art to our audiences in the southeast, but also allows us to provide some greater depth and context for the works of American art in our collection.”

“Our mission is to create opportunities for individuals worldwide to engage with American art in meaningful ways,” said Elizabeth Glassman, president and chief executive officer of the Terra Foundation. “This partnership is singular in bringing together works of American art from significant collections in a multi-year initiative. In presenting highlights of American art in new contexts for audiences, together we are providing forums for international discourse.”

In addition to lending works from its distinguished collection of American art, the Terra Foundation is providing a grant to support the collaboration.

History of Collaborations among the Partners
In 2003, the Terra Foundation supported a major conference on American art at the Louvre, entitled “The Independence of American Art.” In 2006, the Louvre and the Terra Foundation collaborated on two important projects: they presented the first American art exhibition at the Louvre, in which Samuel F. B. Morse’s monumental Gallery of the Louvre (1831—33) from the foundation’s collection hung in the Louvre’s Salon Carré, the same room featured in the painting; and along with the Henry Luce Foundation, they created the Lafayette database, which is a comprehensive inventory of works of American art in French collections.

From 2006—2009, the Louvre and the High participated in a collection-sharing initiative called “Louvre Atlanta” that included a series of thematic exhibitions and the development of joint publications and other collaborative scholarship. The Terra Foundation also lent its Gallery of the Louvre as part of the Louvre-High collaboration; the painting was on view at the High Museum as part of the “Kings as Collectors” exhibition in 2006.

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art
Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art explores the unfolding story of America through the collection of works that illuminate American heritage and artistic possibilities. Founded in 2005 by the Walton Family Foundation, the Museum opened on November 11, 2011. The Museum takes its name from a nearby natural spring and the bridge construction incorporated in the building design by architect Moshe Safdie. A series of pavilions nestled around two spring-fed ponds house collection and exhibition galleries, meeting and classroom spaces, and a large, glass-enclosed gathering hall. The Museum’s goal of uniting art and nature is realized not only by the physical building, but through sculpture and walking trails, which link the Museum’s 120-acre park and gardens to downtown Bentonville, Arkansas. The Museum’s permanent collection spans five centuries of American paintings, sculpture, and works on paper ranging from the Colonial era to the current day.

High Museum of Art
The High Museum of Art in Atlanta, Georgia is the leading art museum in the southeastern United States. Located in Midtown Atlanta’s arts and business district, the High has more than 12,000 works of art in its permanent collection. The Museum has an extensive anthology of 19th- and 20th-century American art; significant holdings of European paintings and decorative art; a growing collection of African American art; and burgeoning collections of modern and contemporary art, photography and African art. The High is also dedicated to supporting and collecting works by Southern artists and is distinguished as the only major museum in North America to have a curatorial department specifically devoted to the field of folk and self-taught art. In November 2005 the High opened three new buildings by architect Renzo Piano that more than doubled the Museum’s size, creating a vibrant “village for the arts” at the Woodruff Arts Center in midtown Atlanta.

musée du Louvre
Endowed with an exceptional artistic inheritance of works of art that date up to the mid-nineteenth century, the musée du Louvre aspires to engage national and international audiences in understanding the variety and richness of civilizations essential to the history of humanity. The museum opened to the public in 1793 and now welcomes more than 8.5 million visitors each year. A unique place in the world, bearing witness to eight centuries of history, the museum presents Western art from the Middle Ages to 1848 and the works of ancient civilizations that preceded and influenced it (Egyptian, Greek, Etruscan and Roman Antiquities, Near-Eastern Art, the Arts of Islam).

Terra Foundation for American Art
Established in 1978, the Terra Foundation for American Art is dedicated to fostering the exploration, understanding, and enjoyment of the visual arts of the United States. With an exceptional collection of American art from the colonial era to 1945, an expansive grant program, and specialized staff at its Chicago and Paris offices, it is one of the leading foundations focused on American art, and devotes approximately $12 million annually in support of American art exhibitions, projects, and research worldwide.