Guest Lecture: Ailsa Mellon Bruce: Collector and Patron of the National Gallery, Dr. Mary Morton, National Gallery of Art

Mary Morton

Mary Morton, curator and head of the French paintings department at the National Gallery of Art, Washington DC

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Florence Gould Theater

National Gallery founder Andrew Mellon’s two children, Paul Mellon and Ailsa Mellon Bruce, were also collectors and major patrons of the National Gallery. They were both drawn to the luminous, color-saturated paintings of the Impressionists and Post-Impressionists, and they each amassed a significant collection of these works to enjoy in their homes, while always intending to give the pictures to the nation. Dr. Mary Morton will discuss some of the highlights of their collecting, with particular attention paid to Ailsa Mellon Bruce, whose activities are less well known than her brother's. The talk will focus on the paintings from these collections that form the core of Intimate Impressionism from the National Gallery of Art.

Dr. Mary Morton is curator and head of the French paintings department at the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC. She received her bachelor’s degree from Stanford University in history, and her PhD from Brown University, concentrating on 19th- and early 20th-century European painting. Morton began her curatorial career in the European art department at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and spent five years as associate curator of paintings at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles. Her exhibition projects include The Spectacular Art of Jean-Léon Gérôme (2010); Sur le Motif: Painting in Nature around 1800 (2008); Oudry's Painted Menagerie (2007); Courbet and the Modern Landscape (2006); Focus on the Beck Collection: André Derain's "The Turning Road, L'Estaque" (2002); Paris in the Age of Impressionism: Masterworks from the Musée d'Orsay (2002) and Old Masters, Impressionists, and Moderns: French Masterworks from the State Pushkin Museum, Moscow (2002). At the National Gallery, she organized the installation of Gauguin: Maker of Myth (2011), and a reinstallation of the renowned 19th-century collection (2012). She is currently working on an exhibition of the work of Gustave Caillebotte for 2015, and of Hubert Robert for 2016.

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This lecture is free after museum general admission. No reservations are necessary.

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Gregory Stock