McNay Art Museum Presents Monet to Matisse: A Century of French Moderns

Media Contact

Yolanda Urrabazo
Head of Communications and Marketing
(o) 210.805.1718

Media Contact: Daniela Oliver de Portillo |210.805.1754 |


McNay Art Museum Presents Monet to Matisse: A Century of French Moderns

Radically reconfigured exhibition galleries showcase artworks from the Brooklyn Museum’s renowned European art collection

February 6, 2017. San Antonio, TX- The McNay Art Museum is proud to present Monet to Matisse: A Century of French Moderns (March 1 to June 4, 2017) in its newly reconfigured Tobin Exhibition Galleries. Curated by McNay Director Richard Aste and Brooklyn Museum Curator of European Painting and Sculpture Lisa Small, the exhibition includes nearly 60 paintings and sculptures from Brooklyn’s renowned European art collection as well as selections from the McNay’s prized holdings. “Bringing Brooklyn’s French collection to the McNay is a reunion decades in the making,” says Aste. “Our founder, Marion Koogler McNay, was a visionary collector. Putting her keen collecting eye back on a par with those of her mostly male peers at the Brooklyn Museum, one of the nation’s pioneering art institutions, is powerful, appropriate, and long overdue.” At the McNay, Monet to Matisse is organized by René Paul Barilleaux, Chief Curator/Curator of Contemporary Art, and Heather Lammers, Director of Collections and Exhibitions.


Indeed, the McNay boasts artworks from the same era—Modernism—and by many of the same artists featured in Monet to Matisse. To reinforce collecting-practice parallels between the McNay and Brooklyn and to highlight the McNay’s growing Modern art collection, the Museum is introducing paintings, sculptures, and prints typically exhibited in the main collection galleries to the Tobin Exhibition Galleries, along with key works on loan from private collectors. Notable examples include:

Paul Gauguin’s Portrait of the Artist with the Idol, Raoul Dufy’s Seated Woman-Rosalie , and Vincent van Gogh’s Women Crossing the Fields, all bequests of Marion Koogler McNay.
An iconic suite of ten Mary Cassatt aquatints, graciously donated to the McNay by prominent philanthropist and collector Margaret Batts Tobin in 1977.
The Tobin Theatre Arts Fund’s Claude Monet masterpiece Nympheas (Water Lilies).
An arresting Paris-made still life by African American painter Lois Mailou Jones on loan from the Harmon and Harriet Kelley Foundation for the Arts.Frederick Carl Frieseke’s The Bathers, an exquisite painting on loan from the collection of Marie and Hugh Halff.

Also on view in the McNay’s Charles Butt Paperworks Gallery is the complementary exhibition Sur Papier: Works on Paper by Renoir, Chagall, and Other French Moderns, drawn entirely from the Museum’s renowned prints and drawings collection.

Monet to Matisse: A Century of French Moderns celebrates France as a major artistic center of international Modernism from the mid-19th to mid-20th centuries. At the time, the genres of portraiture, landscape, the still life, and the nude were redefined in radical ways. The paintings, sculptures, and works on paper in this presentation exemplify the avant-garde movements that defined a hundred years, spanning early attempts to faithfully capture everyday life and concluding with introspective reflections of a disrupted landscape, beginning with the reign of naturalism and ending with the rise of abstraction.

Monet to Matisse inaugurates the McNay’s radically reconfigured Tobin Exhibition Galleries in the Jane & Arthur Stieren Center for Exhibitions as an homage to the vision of its architect, Jean-Paul Viguier. The result is an inspiring open plan that both showcases the beauty of Viguier’s design to great effect and provides visitors with a fresh and dynamic experience. Artworks are presented along the outer walls while interactive educational areas fill the center of the galleries, demonstrating the McNay’s equal commitment to exhibitions and education. Education areas engage audience of all ages and provide points of entry for visitors to the masterworks on view. Activities focus especially on communities often overlooked during this 100-year period, including women, African Americans, and Hispanics. Additionally, the military is the focus of an interpretative section, connecting the period to San Antonio’s major active-duty population.

Introductory text and descriptive labels are presented in both English AND Spanish. And a fully illustrated catalogue, co-edited by Aste and Small, is available at the McNay’s Museum Store. Additionally, throughout the run of Monet to Matisse, the McNay features #McNayFrenchModerns as part of its social media campaign highlighting the permanent collection with interactive content and videos.

This exhibition is organized by the Brooklyn Museum.

Lead funding at the McNay is most generously given by the Elizabeth Huth Coates Charitable Foundation and The Brown Foundation, Inc.

Additional support is provided by the Marcia and Otto Koehler Foundation, the Nathalie and Gladys Dalkowitz Charitable Trust, Frost Bank, the Joan and Herb Kelleher Charitable Foundation, the G.A.C. Halff Foundation, the Director’s Circle, and the Host Committee.

About the McNay

Built by artist and educator Marion Koogler McNay in the 1920s, her Spanish Colonial Revival residence became the site of Texas’s first museum of modern art when the McNay opened in 1954. Today more than 134,000 visitors a year enjoy works by modern masters including Paul Gauguin, Vincent van Gogh, Edward Hopper, Georgia O’Keeffe, Pablo Picasso, Jackson Pollock, and Pierre-Auguste Renoir. The twenty-three acre, beautifully landscaped grounds include sculptures by Robert Indiana, Luis Jimenez Jr, George Rickey, Joel Shapiro, and Kiki Smith. The 45,000-square-foot Jane & Arthur Stieren Center for Exhibitions, designed by internationally renowned French architect Jean-Paul Viguier, features three major exhibitions annually.

For more than half a century, the McNay has enchanted visitors with its art, architecture, and ambiance. The museum offers rich and varied exhibitions as well as rotating displays in the Main Collection Galleries from the 20,000 works in the collection; more than 45,000 adults, teachers, students, and families take advantage of a variety of education programs and innovative educational resources.

Tuesday–Friday, 10 am–4 pm; Thursday, 10 am–9 pm;

Saturday, 10 am–5 pm; Sunday, noon–5 pm.

The McNay is closed on Mondays, New Year’s Day, Independence Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.

Admission to the McNay

Admission is FREE for McNay members and ALL visitors under 20. Entrance to the Main Collection Galleries is FREE on H-E-B Thursday Nights (4–9pm) and on Dickson-Allen Foundation First Sundays of the Month. During FREE times, an optional admission charge applies only for entrance to special exhibitions. Admission to the McNay ranges from $10 to $20 (for adults) and $5 to $15 for (students, seniors and active military), depending on the exhibitions and galleries on view. Current admission prices at