Corcoran Presents Turner to Cezanne: Masterpieces From the Davies Collection, National Museum Wales

Jan 19, 2010, 17:14 ET from Corcoran Gallery of Art

January 30–April 25, 2010

WASHINGTON, Jan. 19 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ --  This winter, the Corcoran Gallery of Art will present Turner to Cezanne: Masterpieces from the Davies Collection, National Museum Wales, organized by the American Federation of Arts and National Museum Wales. Turner to Cezanne features an outstanding group of 19th- and 20th-century paintings and works on paper from National Museum Wales, which has an internationally acclaimed collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist art assembled largely between 1908 and 1923 by Welsh sisters Gwendoline and Margaret Davies.



Turner to Cezanne features more than 50 works – most of which have never been on view in the United States – including masterpieces by Paul Cezanne, Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Honore Daumier, Augustus John, Edouard Manet, Jean-Francois Millet, Claude Monet, Camille Pissarro, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, J.M.W. Turner, and Vincent van Gogh.

The works in Turner to Cezanne have been drawn exclusively from the extraordinary collection of the Davies sisters, who actively sought to collect works that reflected the major movements of the time. They collected during a crucial moment in the history of art, when European painting was undergoing a revolution in style, theme, and technique. The exhibition traces the evolution of early modern art, beginning with examples of dramatic Romanticism exemplified by Turner through the expressionist Post-Impressionism of van Gogh. Spanning the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the exhibition contains masterworks of Realism, Naturalism, Impressionism, and Post-Impressionism by their greatest exponents.

Works on view include Millet's dramatic The Gust of Wind (1871–1873); van Gogh's Rain–Auvers (1890), completed just weeks prior to his death; Cezanne's once-controversial The Francois  Zola Dam (c. 1877–1878); and Renoir's La Parisienne (1874), a figure who represents the era's shifting sense of modernity. (See Turner to Cezanne Exploration Press Release for additional details.)

"This exhibition makes important links between the development of Western art and the stories of those who collected it. In this case, the stories of Gwendoline and Margaret Davies, the wealthy granddaughters of a Welsh industrialist, who chose to spend their inherited fortune on developing an extraordinary art collection, are inextricably linked to the works," said Beatrice Gralton, assistant curator of contemporary art at the Corcoran.

"They were local in concern but international in their vision. Collecting art appears to be an interest pursued by the sisters as a means of connecting to an alternative world, in a quiet, yet hugely influential manner."

Turner to Cezanne at the Corcoran is presented by Paul Greenhalgh, director and president of the Corcoran Gallery of Art, and by Beatrice Gralton, assistant curator of contemporary art.


As contemporary art patrons, the Davies sisters aimed to raise appreciation of the arts and culture in Wales and throughout the United Kingdom.  The granddaughters of David Davies, a wealthy Welsh industrialist, they were among the most progressive British collectors of the day, collecting Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings at a time when modern French art was largely ignored in Britain by both individuals and institutions. Though they communicated with dealers and collectors about acquisitions, they collected what they liked, often landscapes and representations of women and children.

Gwendoline wrote in 1925: "The great joy of collecting is to do it yourself."

The Davies sisters were collecting at a time when Europe was undergoing massive cultural and economic transformation.  Change in industry and politics had spurred something of an urban revolution; the word capitalism came into popular use for the first time, and artists, reacting to the changes taking place around them, endeavored to separate themselves from accepted notions of artistic practice. Though the sisters maintained something of a physical and social distance from the avant-garde artists of the day, they ultimately shared a defining value: the importance of art that reflected and reported modern life.

"For all of their familiarity today, what is so exciting about this collection is that many of the works purchased by the Davies sisters challenged the audiences of the day. They were works that depicted the change in Europe – from rural to industrial, urban, and modern. By the early 20th century, a number of American industrialists had begun to collect Impressionist works, however, in Britain, Gwendoline and Margaret were among a very small group who were seriously collecting this material," Gralton said.


A full-color catalogue, Turner to Cezanne: Masterpieces from the Davies Collection, National Museum, Wales features essays by Colin B. Bailey, Paul Greenhalgh, and Oliver Fairclough, as well as catalogue entries by Bryony Dawkes and Bethany McIntyre. Published by the American Federation of Arts in association with Hudson Hills Press. 91 color and 12 black-and-white illustrations. $39.


Media are invited to a press preview for Turner to Cezanne on Wednesday, January 27, at 10 a.m. at the Corcoran, 500 17th St. N.W., Washington, DC. RSVP to by January 25.

On view from the Corcoran's permanent collection and to compliment Turner to Cezanne, the Corcoran will open A Love of Europe: Highlights from the William A. Clark Collection on January 30.

In 1926, Senator William A. Clark of Montana bequeathed his personal collection of over 800 works of art to the Corcoran Gallery of Art. The life of Senator Clark was surprisingly parallel with that of David Davies, who built the fortune left to Gwendoline and Margaret Davies. They lived through the same tumultuous period; both were self-made men; both were industrialists with interests in mining; both became politicians. And ultimately, the wealth of both went to the enrichment of major galleries of art.

Ranging from ancient antiquities to Impressionist paintings, Senator Clark's collection today forms the core of the Corcoran's holdings of European art. Timed to coincide with Turner to Cezanne, A Love of Europe: Highlights from the William A. Clark Collection displays the Senator's particular enthusiasm for 19th-century French painting. The exhibition will include works by Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Jean-Francois Millet, and Edgar Degas.


The Corcoran's hours of operation are as follows: Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Thursday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; closed Monday and Tuesday. Admission to Turner to Cezanne is $10 for adults, $8 for seniors (62+) and students (with valid ID), children 12 and under and military (with valid ID) enter for  free. For  more  information  about  public  programs  and  events  related  to  Turner  to  Cezanne,  visit   (Also see Turner to Cezanne Public Programs Press Release.)


Corcoran Gallery of Art membership offers free year-round admission, special access to the Corcoran's renowned permanent collection, traveling exhibitions, and discounts at the Shop and Cafe as well as free or reduced admission to lectures, films, and concerts. Membership supports exceptional art exhibitions, educational programs and significant outreach efforts to underserved youth in the local community.

Member Preview Day for Turner to Cezanne is Thursday, January 28, from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Curators and Public Education Staff will lead exclusive Member tours and Members also receive an additional 10% off purchases at the Gift Shop and an additional 10% off at the Corcoran Cafe for a total 20% Member discount. For more information, visit


The Corcoran Gallery of Art, a privately funded institution, was founded in 1869 as Washington's first and largest nonfederal museum of art. It is known internationally for its distinguished collection of historical and modern American art as well as contemporary art, photography, European painting, sculpture and the decorative arts. Founded in 1890, the Corcoran College of Art + Design is Washington's only four-year college of art and design offering BFA degrees in Digital Media Design, Fine Art, Graphic Design and Photography; a five-year Bachelor of Fine Arts/ Master of Arts in Teaching (BFA/MAT); and a two-year Master of Arts (MA) in Interior Design or History of Decorative Arts. The College's Continuing Education program offers part-time credit and non-credit classes for children and adults and draws more than 2,500 participants each year.


Celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2009, the AFA is a nonprofit institution that organizes art exhibitions for presentation in museums around the world, publishes exhibition catalogues, and develops educational materials and programs for children and adults. The AFA's mission is to enrich the public's experience of art and understanding of culture by organizing and touring a diverse offering of exhibitions embracing all aspects of art history. Over the years, millions of visitors in more than 100 museums around the world have experienced more than 1,000 AFA exhibitions. For more information about its exhibitions, publications, artist talks (ArtTalks), membership, cultural travel program (ArtScapes), and online resources, including family guides and podcasts, see


National Museum Wales was established by Royal Charter in 1907. Today, the organization runs seven national museums in Wales and is now known as Amgueddfa Cymru–National Museum Wales. The core objective of Amgueddfa Cymru is the "advancement of the education of the public." This involves developing, caring for, studying, and sustaining access to Wales' national collections ranging from art, archaeology, industry, and social history, through to the natural sciences. As well as its seven museums and a network of partner venues, the Rhagor Web site ( was launched in 2007. Rhagor allows much more of the national collections to be enjoyed online. This brand new virtual museum reveals, for the first time, many previously unseen treasures from the collections housed at Wales's seven national museums.

Amgueddfa Cymru's art collections, held at National Museum Cardiff, encompass both the fine and applied arts, from antiquity to the present. The museum has old master paintings of exceptional quality, a rich collection of British art, outstanding ceramics and silver, and a print room collection with more than 32,000 works on paper. Highlights include extensive landscape and portraiture collections, as well as comprehensive works by Welsh artists from Richard Wilson to Gwen John. It also has a unique collection of the Regency porcelains made at Swansea and Nantgarw. The museum is renowned, however, for its internationally acclaimed Impressionist collection, which was bequeathed to the museum in the mid-20th century by the remarkable Davies sisters. The year 2007 marked the centenary year of National Museum Wales, during which exciting new plans were unveiled to refurbish the historic galleries and expand into new galleries for the modern and contemporary collections to form a new National Museum of Art. This will present opportunities to highlight the production of art in Wales while providing, for the first time, a sense of its relationship to the wider history of European art. For more information please visit

Turner to Cezanne: Masterpieces from the Davies Collection, National Museum Wales is organized by the American Federation of Arts and National Museum Wales. This exhibition is supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and Humanities.

Turner to Cezanne at the Corcoran Gallery of Art is supported by the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation. The presentation at the Corcoran is also proudly supported by Sir Howard Stringer in honor of the rich heritage of Wales.

CONTACT: Kristin Guiter, Director of Public Relations,, (202) 639-1867

Rachel Cothran, Public Relations Coordinator,, (202) 639-1833

SOURCE Corcoran Gallery of Art