European masterworks from the IMA on tour in China

Rembrandt van Rijn (Dutch, 1606–1669), ‘Self-Portrait,’ about 1629, oil on panel, 17½ × 13½ × ¾in. (panel). Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields, Courtesy of The Clowes Fund, C10063

INDIANAPOLIS – For the first time in history, 60 European masterworks from the Indianapolis Museum of Art’s collection traveled to China in the exhibition, “Rembrandt to Monet: 500 Years of European Painting from the Clowes Collection and the Indianapolis Museum of Art.”

The exhibition encompasses the most influential periods and schools of European art history. Highlights include works by Titian, Rubens, Rembrandt, Goya, Gauguin and Monet, among others. This international exhibition is curated by Kjell Wangensteen, assistant curator of European Art at Newfields (IMA).

The paintings were selected for their exceptional quality and for their ability to clearly convey the broader narrative of European art history, from the early Italian Renaissance through 19th-century French Impressionism. Among the most notable works in the show are Rembrandt van Rijn’s Self-Portrait (about 1629), and Claude Monet’s painting Charing Cross Bridge, which the Impressionist master painted around the year 1900.

The IMA is renowned for its collection of European art from the Renaissance through the 19th century. Many of the works traveling abroad were once in the collection of Dr. George H.A. and Edith Clowes, prominent Indianapolis art collectors. Most of these important works now belong to the Indianapolis Museum of Art and have been on view to the public for decades in the IMA’s Clowes Pavilion, which is currently under renovation. These works will be reinstalled and reinterpreted, as the pavilion is modernized to more successfully engage today’s audiences through interactive and digital experiences.

Installation view at the Guangdong Museum of ‘Rembrandt to Monet: 500 Years of European Painting from the Clowes Collection and the Indianapolis Museum of Art. Courtesy of Newfields.

Infrastructure improvements, such as electrical outlets and WiFi capabilities, will enable new technologies to bring the collection to life. It will also include skylight improvements and new gallery lighting, among other capital improvements and updates. This extensive project is part of an initiative to create a 21st-century campus at Newfields and is funded through generous grants from the Clowes Fund and Allen Whitehill Clowes Charitable Foundation. The Clowes Pavilion will reopen to the public in the fall of 2021.

“Rembrandt to Monet” is on view at Guangdong Museum in Guangzhou where it will be on view from now through May 5, 2020. From there will travel to up to four additional museums across China.