Atlanta Collectors Gift 47 Extraordinary Works to the High Museum of Art

ATLANTA – The High Museum of Art today announced a gift of 47 works of art, the majority of which are prints and posters by major artists working in fin-de-siécle Paris, from prominent Atlanta collectors Irene and Howard Stein. The Stein collection includes many rare and extremely prized works by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, such as “La Clownesse au Moulin Rouge” (1897), one of only a handful of impressions of this color lithograph, and “Miss Loïe Fuller” (1893), a ghostly image of the famous American dancer that incorporates powdered gold. The gift also includes important prints and drawings by Pierre Bonnard, Edgar Degas, Paul Gauguin, Honoré Daumier and Paul Signac, and sculptures by Pieter Xavery, Martin Desjardins, Charles Cordier and Jules Dalou. In celebration of this gift, the High will mount a special exhibition titled “Toulouse-Lautrec and Friends: The Stein Collection,” which will open in January 2011.

“This is one of the largest and most significant gifts of works of art in the history of the High Museum of Art,” said Michael Shapiro, the High’s Nancy and Holcombe T. Green, Jr. Director. “Over the past two decades, the Steins have been invaluable in helping us to build our collection. This latest gift will greatly strengthen our European sculpture collection and dramatically elevate our holdings of works on paper by Impressionists and Post-Impressionists.”

“Toulouse-Lautrec and Friends: The Stein Collection” will feature approximately 80 works. In addition to the 47 new gifts, the exhibition will include approximately 30 works that were either previously given to the High by the Steins or purchased with funds given by the Steins. Among these is a rare complete set of Toulouse-Lautrec’s lithographic masterpiece “The Elles Series” (1896), which the Steins presented to the High in 2001; the set is remarkable because it is unbroken and virtually in perfect condition. In 1998 the High organized “Toulouse-Lautrec: Posters and Prints from the Collection of Irene and Howard Stein,” which featured many of the works now in the High’s collection and those part of the new gift.

Both Irene and Howard Stein were born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, and are graduates of Brooklyn College. They relocated to Atlanta in the early 1970s to be closer to their carpet mill, and then retired in the early 1990s. Their art collecting began in the 1970s with the acquisition of fin-de-siècle posters by such artists as Mucha and Chéret. As their interest grew in this medium, they soon focused on the work of the premier artist of that period, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, and have assembled one of the best private collections of his work in the world.

The Steins have been members of the High Museum since 1976, and Howard is a life member of the museum’s board of trustees. “We bought Toulouse-Lautrec because we appreciated the medium and enjoyed the stories behind the images,” said Irene and Howard Stein. “We are very pleased to be able to share our passion for Toulouse-Lautrec with Atlanta and the world, and we hope that our gift to the High Museum will set an example for other collectors to do the same. For our part, this has been an exciting journey in building our collection, and we appreciate the expertise and friendship of David Brenneman. It has enriched our lives.”

European Art at the High Museum
In 1958 the High received a donation of 29 Renaissance and Baroque paintings and sculptures from the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, establishing the core of the Museum’s European art collection, which today includes nearly 700 works. Highlights of the Kress gift are Giovanni Bellini’s “Madonna and Child,” Tommaso del Mazza’s “Madonna and Child with Six Saints” and Giovanni Battista Tiepolo’s “Roman Matrons Making Offerings to Juno.” In later decades, the High acquired important late-19th-century French paintings by such masters as Claude Monet, Camille Pissarro and Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot. More recently, the sculpture and works-on-paper holdings have been strengthened through acquisitions of works by artists ranging from Albrecht Dürer to Antoine-Louis Barye and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec.

The High Museum of Art
The High Museum of Art, founded in 1905 as the Atlanta Art Association, is the leading art museum in the southeastern United States. With more than 12,000 works of art in its permanent collection, the High Museum of Art has an extensive anthology of 19th- and 20th-century American and decorative art; significant holdings of European paintings; 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. The High’s media arts department produces acclaimed annual film series and festivals of foreign, independent and classic cinema. 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. For more information about the High, please visit

The Woodruff Arts Center
The Woodruff Arts Center is ranked among the top four arts centers in the nation. The Woodruff is unique in that it combines four visual and performing arts divisions on one campus as one not-for-profit organization. Opened in 1968, the Woodruff Arts Center is home to the Alliance Theatre, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, the High Museum of Art and Young Audiences. To learn more about the Woodruff Arts Center, please visit