ATLANTA, Jan. 13, 2021 — The High Museum of Art continued to expand its collection in 2020 with a bequest of 53 European artworks from the Irene and Howard Stein Collection that were promised to the High in 2010. The gift features 41 prints and posters and 10 sculptures by artists including Henri Toulouse-Lautrec, Edgar Degas, Paul Gauguin and Martin Desjardins; a drawing by Degas; and an oil painting by Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux.
Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, the Steins relocated to Atlanta in the early 1970s. They became members of the High in 1976, and Howard served on the High’s board of directors. Over the last 30 years, the Steins have donated 20 other works to the Museum and supported the acquisition of 11 others.
“As longstanding supporters of the High, the Steins were instrumental in the growth of our distinguished European art collection,” said Rand Suffolk, the High’s Nancy and Holcombe T. Green, Jr., director. “We are incredibly grateful for their generosity and honored to steward the care and presentation of these artworks for future generations.”
“Each of the artworks in this gift are of unquestionable historical and artistic importance, and the artists represented are celebrated in collections around the world,” said Claudia Einecke, the High’s Frances B. Bunzl Family curator of European art. “We look forward to sharing the works with our audiences in forthcoming installations and exhibitions.”
This bequest is among several significant contributions to the High’s European art department in recent years, including the 2019 gift of Impressionist paintings from Doris and Shouky Shaheen and a generous bequest from Frances B. Bunzl to establish an acquisitions endowment for the collection.
The Steins’ art collecting began with fin-de-siècle posters. As their interest grew in that medium, they soon focused on the work of Toulouse-Lautrec, the premier artist of that period, assembling one of the best private collections of his work in the world. Among the Steins’ donated works are 31 Toulouse-Lautrec prints that include posters for Le Divan Japonais and the Moulin Rouge and portraits of Jane Avril and Aristide Bruant. The works join the rare series “Elles” and other well-known works by the artist already in the High’s collection, significantly augmenting the Museum’s holdings of his work and providing the High with one of America’s leading public collections of such posters.
The Steins’ early cast of Desjardins’s “Louis XIV on Horseback” (ca. 1690-1694) is considered one of the new highlights of the European collection because of its rarity and exceptional quality. Works by Carpeaux, Aimé-Jules Dalou, Charles Cordier and François Rude augment the Museum’s existing collection of 19th-century French sculpture. Two figures by Flemish Baroque sculptor Pieter Xavery complement another focus of the High’s collection, 18th–century terracotta sculpture.
Prints by Degas, Gauguin, Pierre Bonnard and Paul Signac add greatly to the High’s existing holdings of works by these artists, in number and in their exceptional quality and individual importance. The two Degas works on paper bring the Museum’s holdings by the artist to a total of eight, with works representing favorite themes and different phases of his career. The bequest also includes prints by Mary Cassatt, Honoré Daumier and Mela Muter.
About the High Museum of Art
Located in the heart of Atlanta, the High Museum of Art connects with audiences from across the Southeast and around the world through its distinguished collection, dynamic schedule of special exhibitions and engaging community-focused programs. Housed within facilities designed by Pritzker Prize–winning architects Richard Meier and Renzo Piano, the High features a collection of more than 17,000 works of art, including an extensive anthology of 19th- and 20th-century American fine and decorative arts; major holdings of photography and folk and self-taught work, especially that of artists from the American South; burgeoning collections of modern and contemporary art, including paintings, sculpture, new media and design; a growing collection of African art, with work dating from prehistory through the present; and significant holdings of European paintings and works on paper. The High is dedicated to reflecting the diversity of its communities and offering a variety of exhibitions and educational programs that engage visitors with the world of art, the lives of artists and the creative process. For more information about the High, visit www.high.org.
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Marci Tate Davis
High Museum of Art
Manager of Public Relations