The Feminine Eye: Women Art Collectors
Two Fridays ( July 22nd & 29th 1:00 – 3:00 pm PT)
Corte Madera in-person class
The collections of Isabella d'Este and Catherine the Great are legendary, but we know little about four women whose passion for art and discernment have left us with outstanding art museums.
We begin with Princess Izabela Czartoryski, whose collection of old masters including Rembrandt and Rafael once graced the family palace and included Leonardo's Lady with an Ermine brought from Italy to Poland. This priceless collection is now housed in the Czartoryski Museum in Krakow. Helene Kroller Muller (nee Muller), a German who married a Dutchman, collected the works of Vincent van Gogh and his contemporaries well before they were generally recognized. The Kroller-Muller Museum in Oterlo is the high spot of any visit to the Netherlands. It is located in De Hoge Veluwe National Park. The sculpture garden is worth a trip! Note that this is the second largest collection of Vincent's work in the world. Isabella Stewart Gardner of Boston avidly collected art to grace her home, and then purchased pieces of architecture from Venice to build a museum to house her treasures. Much has been written about “The Gardner Heist,” the unsolved theft of 13 important works from the museum, but not enough has been revealed about the woman, her friends and the important independent decisions she made about purchases. Francine Clark (nee Clary) was a beautiful and talented French woman who married Sterling Clark, and with her taste and his money an outstanding collection was put together. “The Clark," as the Clark Collection is called, is in Williamstown, Mass. and houses, among other priceless pieces, the finest collection of Impressionist paintings in the country. We will look closely at the most iconic works in these four museums.
Kerrin Meis taught art history at SFSU for ten years and has led study tours in Europe. Her Book Passage classes have been favorites for years.