Press release: Upcoming exhibition celebrates promised gift of Renaissance and Baroque masterworks

By | January 24, 2017

Rembrandt van Rijn, Dutch, 1606–1669; “Faust (The Scholar in His Study)”, c.1652; etching, drypoint, and engraving on oatmeal paper; image: 8 1/4 × 6 5/16 inches; Mark S. Weil Artwork 2011 Irrevocable Trust, Promised gift of Phoebe Dent Weil and Mark S. Weil 2016.85

ST. LOUIS, Jan. 24, 2017—The Saint Louis Art Museum will present Learning to See: Renaissance and Baroque Masterworks from the Phoebe Dent Weil and Mark S. Weil Collection, an exhibition celebrating the promised gift of over 150 works of art assembled by Phoebe Dent Weil and Mark S. Weil over the course of some 25 years. A catalogue will be published by the Museum in conjunction with the exhibition. The free exhibition will be on view from March 3 through July 30 in Galleries 234 and 235.

Mark Weil is an art historian and former professor of art history and director of the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum at Washington University, and Phoebe Dent Weil is an art conservator who pioneered the field of sculpture conservation in St. Louis in the 1970s. Their careers dovetailed seamlessly with their collecting interests, and the majority of the works they acquired reflect their passion and deep knowledge of the art and culture of Europe in the 15th to 18th centuries.

“This exhibition celebrates and honors the recent commitment by honorary trustee Mark Weil and Phoebe Dent Weil of their extraordinary collection of old master prints and European sculpture,” said Brent R. Benjamin, the Barbara B. Taylor Director of the Saint Louis Art Museum. “The museum is pleased to provide the public with their first Iook at this extraordinary addition to the museum’s collection.”

(To download web-sized images, right click on the images below.)

Eighty-two works will be included in Learning to See, and an additional selection of objects will be on display in the European galleries, which will demonstrate how works from the Weil collection will complement and enhance the museum’s collection.

“Seated Saint John the Baptist”, c.1505–10; Italian; terracotta with paint; 26 7/16 × 20 1/2 × 11 1/8 inches; Mark S. Weil Artwork 2011 Irrevocable Trust, Promised gift of Phoebe Dent Weil and Mark S. Weil

Particularly rich in works on paper, the Weil collection includes rare and beautiful early Italian Renaissance engravings, an extraordinary group of prints by Albrecht Dürer and an exceptional selection of etchings and drypoints by Rembrandt van Rijn, including a very special impression of his “Hundred Guilder Print.” The Weil holdings also include bronzes and terracottas from the Renaissance, as well as fine examples from the 17th century, and an outstanding marble portrait bust of the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius made in the 18th century.

The exhibition will be animated by the novel juxtaposition of prints and drawings with bronzes and terracottas. The seemingly disparate works across time and techniques will be united through a variety of thematic groupings. Visitors may explore, for example, how the myths and mythical beings of ancient Greece and Rome were interpreted by Renaissance sculptors, draftsmen and engravers.

Devotional objects and representations of Christian themes will demonstrate the role played by prints and sculpture in the context of the early modern church. Another section focuses on works by three major figures in the history of prints—Andrea Mantegna, Albrecht Dürer, and Rembrandt van Rijn—while yet another grouping features prints designed to be used as adornment or decoration. Finally, there will be a selection of works depicting the body both nude and clothed, which will be displayed in close proximity with a grouping that highlights the technical aspects involved in the sculpting of terracotta and bronze.

Judith Mann and Elizabeth Wyckoff

The Phoebe Dent Weil and Mark S. Weil Collection will transform the museum’s holdings, expanding the number of old master sculptures by one third, and adding a particular strength in terracottas of the 16th and 17th centuries. The impact on the print collection will be even greater. Acclaimed masterpieces that changed the course of printmaking will enrich the museum’s existing strengths in artists such as Dürer and Rembrandt and complement and build on its collection of 16th-century Italian prints and drawings.

Learning to See is curated by Elizabeth Wyckoff, curator of prints, drawings, and photographs; and Judith Mann, curator of European art to 1800.

CONTACT: Matthew Hathaway, 314.655.5493, matthew.hathaway@slam.org