Chester Dale Collection: It’s About the Women

The National Gallery of Art’s new blockbuster show, From Impressionism to Modernism: The Chester Dale Collection, is really a “best of” the gallery’s holdings. Upon Dale’s death in 1962, the gallery received more than 300 works from the bond trader’s collection, and it’s a star-studded lot.

Fans of impressionism will find plenty to soak in, including fan favorites “Girl with a Watering Can” by Pierre-Auguste Renoir and “Four Dancers” by Edgar Degas. But I read the exhibit primarily as an appreciation of women. In one room, you’ll find Matisse’s “La Coiffure”, Cassatt’s “Mother and Child” and Modigliani’s “Nude on a Blue Cushion”: femininity in its many guises.

Of all the paintings in the room, it was the Modigliani that people had a hard time walking away from– something about the subject’s “come hither” gaze and rose-orange skin. If there were an illustration of “seduce” in the dictionary, this might be it.

From Impressionism to Modernism runs through July 31, 2011 at the National Gallery of Art.

Image: Nude on a Blue Cushion, Amedeo Modigliani

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