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Monet to Moore - Brettell, Richard R.; Lee, Natalie H. - Yale University Press
Art and Architecture


Monet to Moore

The Millennium Gift of Sara Lee Corporation

  • Richard R. Brettell; With contributions by Natalie H. Lee
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One of the most significant—and least studied—forms of postwar art collecting in the United States has been the corporate collection. This beautiful book documents one of the most important and widely exhibited of these holdings: the collection of Sara Lee Corporation, fifty-two works selected from the personal collection of Sara Lee’s founder, Nathan Cummings.

With major masterpieces ranging from an 1872 painting by Claude Monet to a 1964 bronze by Henry Moore, the Sara Lee Collection was assembled in 1980, five years before Cummings’s death. Since then it has been exhibited in or made loans to many museums throughout the world. In 1998, the corporation announced an unprecedented gift of the entire collection to a group of forty art museums, twenty-five in the United States and fifteen in international cities in which Sara Lee Corporation has a major presence. This Millennium Gift is the largest single gift to the arts in American history and the first to include institutions outside the United States.

This book discusses the Nathan Cummings Collection, the Sara Lee Collection, and the Millennium Gift. It also includes an essay on each of the fifty-two works that places the work in the context of the artist’s oeuvre, proposes new interpretations, and discusses the position of the art in the collections of the recipient museums throughout the world. Lavishly illustrated, the book also provides more than 200 comparative photographs.

Richard R. Brettell, curator of the Sara Lee Collection since its inception, is a professor in the interdisciplinary program in arts and humanities at the University of Texas at Dallas. Having served as a museum professional in Chicago and Dallas, he is the author of many other books, including the prize-winning Pissarro and Pontoise: The Painter in a Landscape, published by Yale University Press. Natalie H. Lee is an independent art historian based in Dallas.

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