TUCSON, ARIZONA (July 29, 2017) – The Tucson Museum of Art and Historic Block is pleased to announce that it has been awarded a bequest of a late-1800s painting by French artist William-Adolphe Bouguereau, which is planned to be a highlight for the Museum’s new Palice Gallery of European Art and will be a quintessential work in the collection.
The donation of the oil on canvas painting, “Bathers,” was made by the Katheryne B. Willock Trust. Paintings by Bouguereau can be found in collections throughout the United States and worldwide including the Art Institute of Chicago, the Musee d’Orsay in Paris, the Brooklyn Museum in New York, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
“We are grateful to the Katheryne B. Willock Trust for selecting TMA as the permanent home of this important work of art. Bathers will be a centerpiece to our new Palice Gallery of European Art for years to come,” said Jeremy Mikolajczak, CEO of the Tucson Museum of Art. “It is through the generosity of Katheryne B. Willock and the Palice Foundation that TMA can continue its commitment of bringing amazing works to Tucson.”
Ms. Willock, a native of Portland, Oregon, and a noted archaeologist, was a long-time donor to the University of Arizona and a supporter of the UA library where she established the Katheryne B. Willock Endowed Chair for the Director of Special Collections. She also funded the annual Library Research Awards in her name to recognize undergraduate and graduate UA students who make use of the libraries’ information resources. She passed away in January 2017.
The new Palice Gallery of European Art is being made possible by a gift from the Palice Foundation, and the second gallery named in honor of Tucson-based civic philanthropists Paul and Alice Baker. In 2001, the Baker’s established a gallery in the Museum for the exhibition of the institution’s extensive Latin American and pre-Columbian art. The Palice Gallery of European Art will house the Museum’s European Art Collection, including works by Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes, Henri Matisse, and Pierre-Auguste Renoir. Development of the gallery will take place during the renovation currently underway at the Museum.
Bathers is a painting that was completed in 1878 by Bougeureau, who has 536 works to his credit through 1905, when he passed away at the age of 80. He was known to draw his inspiration from the Italian painter and architect Raphael, renowned for his work during the Renaissance.
Damian Bartol, a historian on Bouguereau’s paintings and artistic influence stated: “It was he who single handedly opened the French academies to women, and it was he who was arguably the greatest painter of the human figure in all of art history. His figures come to life like no previous artist has ever before or ever since achieved. He wasn’t just the best ever at painting human anatomy, more importantly he captured the tender and subtlest nuances of personality and mood. Bouguereau caught the very souls and spirits of his subjects much like Rembrandt.”
The Museum renovation will result in the galleries closing from July 10 through mid-October when Bathers and TMA’s new collection galleries open to the public. The historic houses of the TMA campus and their exhibits will remain open through the summer with no charge for admission.