QAGOMA director Chris Saines with a render of Titian's 'Venus and Adonis', which will come to Queensland as part of the European Masterpieces from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York exhibition next year. Picture: Nigel Hallett
QAGOMA director Chris Saines with a render of Titian's 'Venus and Adonis', which will come to Queensland as part of the European Masterpieces from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York exhibition next year. Picture: Nigel Hallett

Queensland scores huge coup with art exhibition from The Met

European masterpieces from the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York will be shown exclusively at the Gallery of Modern Art in Brisbane next year, in a huge coup for the state.

The exhibition is set to rewrite the history of art in Queensland, by bringing major artworks by Caravaggio, Rembrandt, Turner, van Gogh, Goya, Vermeer, Renoir and Monet to Australia for the first time.

QAGOMA director Chris Saines - who secured the 65-piece exhibition - said it would be the greatest art exhibition Queensland had ever seen, and would undoubtedly lift the state's arts industry out of a post-COVID slump.

"We've never done anything on quite this level before," Saines told The Courier Mail.

"This is a big moment for Queensland and it will run from June 12 to October 17, which is longer than these exhibitions usually run for. This is an exhibition that will be accessible to everyone and I hope it will bring in an entirely new audience.

"To see these works in Brisbane will be such an extraordinary opportunity."

 

QAGOMA director Chris Saines with a reproduction of Titian's 'Venus and Adonis', which will come to Queensland as part of the European Masterpieces from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York exhibition next year. Picture: Nigel Hallett
QAGOMA director Chris Saines with a reproduction of Titian's 'Venus and Adonis', which will come to Queensland as part of the European Masterpieces from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York exhibition next year. Picture: Nigel Hallett

Tourism Minister Kate Jones said the exhibition would be instrumental in the state's economic recovery.

"Major cultural events like this boost Brisbane's already dynamic reputation as a perfect winter destination," Ms Jones said.

"The Palaszczuk Government has a plan to rebuild our economy and world-class events like this are crucial element of that strategy."

Chris Saines says European Masterpieces, which will fill the ground floor at GOMA, would begin in the 1420s, with a drama-filled panel painting, The Crucifixion by Fra Angelico, and end in 1919 with one of Monet's late Water Lilies, a precursor to abstraction.

"The exhibition traces the development of art and artists from a time when creativity was closely controlled through the patronage of church and state, to a period in which our contemporary idea of the independent artist was born," he said.

"It's a major coup for Brisbane and an extraordinary opportunity for our audiences to experience these important works from one of the finest collections of European painting in the world, the majority of which rarely leave permanent display in New York."

 

QAGOMA director Chris Saines outside the Gallery. Picture: Nigel Hallett
QAGOMA director Chris Saines outside the Gallery. Picture: Nigel Hallett

 

The Metropolitan Museum of Art director Max Hollein said the exhibition presented a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity in which The Met - during the renovation of their galleries for European paintings - could share these masterpieces with the people in Australia.

"It brings great joy to see such magnificent paintings, and the many stories they tell, come to Brisbane's Gallery of Modern Art," Hollein said.

It's the only international exhibition The Met is doing and it all came about because Chris Saines happened to "in the right place at the right time".

It came about after a visit to New York by Saines, who just happened to visit The Met when it was planning a renovation of its European Galleries. That meant some of the masterpieces that people travel from all over the world to see could be lent and Saines was the man on the spot to sow the seeds to a deal clinched several months later in late 2018.

Visitors will see the finely painted, emotionally charged altarpiece panel depicting the Crucifixion of Christ by the Florentine artist Fra Angelico; Titian's poetic Venus and Adonis of the 1550s; Caravaggio's lyrical The Musicians of 1597; Rembrandt's painterly Flora of c. 1654; and Vermeer's elaborate Allegory of the Catholic Faith of c. 1670-72, together with outstanding 19th-century impressionist and postimpressionist paintings.

 

The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

 

QAGOMA has worked with The Met previously. In 2009 the gallery presented American Impressionism and Realism: A Landmark Exhibition and there was a previous show of European masters at the Queensland Art Gallery back in 1987.

But next year's European Masterpieces exhibition eclipses both those. The state government topped up its annual $3 million limited Life Funding for special exhibitions at QAGOMA to help make it happen.

While nobody will confirm what the exhibition is worth, it would be safe to say we are looking at more than $1 billion of art.

With that in mind the exhibition is being supported by the Australian Government International Exhibitions Insurance Program. This program provides funding for the purchase of insurance for significant cultural exhibitions.

Without AGIEI, the high cost of insuring significant cultural items would prohibit this major exhibition from touring to Australia.

European Masterpieces - which will be presented by QAGOMA in partnership with Arts Exhibitions Australia - will be accompanied by a public program, Up Late program as well as a major publication.

Tickets to the exhibition are sale from 10.30am Friday, August 28 at qagoma.qld.gov.au

IN QWEEKEND TOMORROW: HOW CHRIS SAINES PULLED OFF THE ART COUP OF THE CENTURY.

 

SIX EUROPEAN MASTERPIECES TO LOOK FORWARD TO SEEING

VENUS AND ADONIS 1550s by Titian (Tiziano Vecellio)

Generations of artists have been inspired by this magnificent work by one of Italy's masters. Visitors from all over the world marvel at it when they visit New York but now we are set to get up close and personal with this amazing painting.

It depicts the decisive moment at which the goddess of love, Venus, tries to dissuade her mortal lover, Adonis, from venturing out on an ill-fated boar hunt, fearing he was not destined to return. Titian himself described it as a painting which seeks to recreate the story and feeling of a poem.

 

Rembrandt’s Flora.
Rembrandt’s Flora.

 

FLORA c. 1654 by Rembrandt (Rembrandt van Rijn)

One of the superstars of European art, Rembrandt is renowned for his portraits and this is a particularly gorgeous one and quite lighthearted.

Flora is one of his most highly regarded paintings and an outstanding example of Rembrandt's ability to make his figures seem profoundly alive.

To have this painting coming to Brisbane is exciting beyond belief.

Prepare to marvel over one of the great paintings by one of world's greatest artists.

 

Johannes Vermeer’s Allegory of the Catholic Faith.
Johannes Vermeer’s Allegory of the Catholic Faith.

 

ALLEGORY OF THE CATHOLIC FAITH c. 1670-72 by Johannes Vermeer

The book and film Girl with a Pearl Earring introduced Vermeer to a whole new audience.

He painted only 34 paintings in his lifetime, of which The Met has five - more than any other museum. And it is lending us this one, which is the largest and most complex of his works.

Vermeer, a Catholic convert, explores religious life in this work which is set in a private chapel and reveals details of a prayerful life.

Catholicism was frowned upon in the Dutch republic of his time so there is plenty of secret symbolism in this extraordinary painting.

 

Joseph Mallord William Turner’s Venice, From the Porch of Madonna Della Salute.
Joseph Mallord William Turner’s Venice, From the Porch of Madonna Della Salute.

 

VENICE, FROM THE PORCH OF MADONNA DELLA SALUTE c. 1835 by Joseph Mallord William Turner

JMW Turner's works take your breath away, they are so beautiful.

Renowned for his misty, turbulent ocean and alpine views, he loved the coast and landscape of his native England but like most artists was also in love with Venice.

This atmospherically charged work, set near the entry to the Grand Canal, features water glimmering like glass, reflecting and ultimately dissolving the marble buildings that frame its vista.

You may have swooned over his work in books but prepare to swoon in public when you see it displayed here.

 

Vincent van Gogh’s the Flowering Orchard.
Vincent van Gogh’s the Flowering Orchard.

 

THE FLOWERING ORCHARD 1888 by Vincent van Gogh

You don't have to be an art aficionado to know about Vincent van Gogh, one of the most loved artists of all time.

He even had a pop song written about him - Vincent, by Don McLean.

You would pay good money just to see this painting alone, a gorgeous work inspired by his times at Arles in the south of France.

It was inspired by the Provence sunshine and flowering fields.

 

Claude Monet’s Water Lilies.
Claude Monet’s Water Lilies.

 

WATER LILIES 1916-19 by Claude Monet

Claude Monet's water lily paintings are icons of world art. They were painted in the studio and surrounds of his beloved Giverny, north west of Paris, a pilgrimage spot for art lovers.

Having one of his priceless water lily paintings at GOMA makes it a new pilgrimage location for Monet fans and let's face it, who doesn't love Monet?

 

 

 

Originally published as Queensland scores huge coup with major art exhibition from The Met



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