Impressionism to Modernism: The Lenfest Collection of American Art Reveals the Artistic and Philanthropic Vision of Marguerite and H.F. “Gerry” Lenfest Whose Generosity Set the Cornerstone For the Michener Art Museum

. September 13, 2019

DOYLESTOWN, PA – The Michener Art Museum will proudly open its doors on September 29, 2019 welcoming visitors to experience Impressionism to Modernism: The Lenfest Collection of American Art. In memory of H.F. “Gerry” Lenfest (1930 – 2018), the Michener will present –for the first time in history– the entire collection of American art he and his wife, Marguerite, donated to the Museum. On view in the Martin Wing through March 1, 2020, this exhibition honors these two remarkable collectors, visionaries and supporters of the Museum. Impressionism to Modernism will include approximately 100 works by over 30 artists. The works range in date from the late 1890s to the late 1950s, among the most creative and significant periods in the history of Bucks County and American art, presenting a rare opportunity for guests to see the breadth and depth of art of the region in one fell swoop.
The Lenfests laid the foundation for the Michener Art Museum with the donation of 59 Pennsylvania Impressionist paintings in 1999. This outstanding gift instantly established the Museum as possessing the finest collection of the art of Bucks County in private or public hands and the premier center for the study of art of this period. Glorious examples by such luminaries as Walter Emerson Baum, Fern Coppedge, John Fulton Folinsbee, Daniel Garber, William Lathrop, Edward Redfield, Walter Elmer Schofield, George Sotter, and Robert Spencer illustrate the profound importance of art produced in this region. In 2010, the Lenfests gave another major collection of Modernist works by Charles Evans, Lloyd Ney, Charles Frederick Ramsey, Charles Rosen, Louis Stone, and others, expanding the Museum’s ability to tell the rich story of American art and securely placing the Michener in the pantheon of significant American museums.

“Impressionist and modernist artists lived, worked, and exhibited in the same communities, even as they trafficked in very different aesthetic philosophies,” says Michener Art Museum Curator of American Art Laura Turner Igoe, Ph.D. “The diverse styles represented in this exhibition reveal innovative experiments with abstraction occurring at the same time as continued impressionistic and realist modes of representation. It is an honor to curate this exceptional compendium of art celebrating the Lenfests, their generosity, and their wish for these works to be seen by all.”

The Michener Art Museum will also present a variety of lectures and programs to complement this exhibition. Please visit https://www.michenerartmuseum.org/ to learn more.

George Sotter (1879-1953), Low Tide Rockport, Maine, n.d. Oil on Canvas. 26 x 32.25 in. James A. Michener Art Museum. Gift of Marguerite and Gerry Lenfest.

Category: Fine Art

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