European & American Art

Claude Monet

French, 1840-1926

Le Bassin des Nympheas

1904

Oil paint on canvas

Funds from Helen Dill bequest, 1935.14

Claude Monet

French, 1840-1926

Waterloo Bridge

1903

Oil paint on canvas

Funds from Helen Dill bequest, 1935.15

Camille Pissarro

French, 1830-1903

Autumn, Peupliers, Éragny (Autumn, Poplars, Éragny)

1894

Oil paint on canvas

Funds from Helen Dill bequest, 1935.16

Camille Pissarro

French, 1830-1903

Bords de l’Oise a Pontoise (Banks of the Oise at Pontoise)

1867

Oil paint on canvas

Gift of the Barnett and Annalee Newman Foundation in honor of Annalee G. Newman, 2001.310

Edgar Hilaire Degas

French, 1834-1917

Examen de Danse (Dance Examination)

1880

Pastel on paper

Anonymous Gift, 1941.6

Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione

Italian, 1609-1664

Deucalion and Pyrrha

1655

Oil paint on canvas

Funds from T. Edward and Tullah Hanley and Mr. and Mrs. Carl M. Williams by exchange, 1998.39

Attributed to Girolamo da Cremona

Italian, active 1451-1483

The Triumphs of Love, Chastity and Death

About 1460

Oil paint on panel

Gift of the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, 1961.169.1

These panels probably belonged on a cassone (marriage chest). The imagery comes from a popular poem by Petrarch (1304–74), in which Love, Chastity, Death, Fame, Time, and Divinity appear in succession, and each one vanquishes the one before. (Divinity, of course, trumps all.) The figures on top of the chariots, the animals that pull them, and even the surrounding landscapes provide clues to each panel’s theme. This particular chest celebrated the marriage between a bride of the Gonzaga family, Mantua’s ruling dynasty (whose crest is on the building in the background of the Chastity panel) and a groom of the powerful Sforza family, Dukes of Milan (whose crest is on the building in the background of Fame).

Attributed to Girolamo da Cremona

Italian, active 1451-1483

The Triumphs of Fame, Time, and Divinity

About 1460

Oil paint on panel

Gift of the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, 1961.169.2

These panels probably belonged on a cassone (marriage chest). The imagery comes from a popular poem by Petrarch (1304–74), in which Love, Chastity, Death, Fame, Time, and Divinity appear in succession, and each one vanquishes the one before. (Divinity, of course, trumps all.) The figures on top of the chariots, the animals that pull them, and even the surrounding landscapes provide clues to each panel’s theme. This particular chest celebrated the marriage between a bride of the Gonzaga family, Mantua’s ruling dynasty (whose crest is on the building in the background of the Chastity panel) and a groom of the powerful Sforza family, Dukes of Milan (whose crest is on the building in the background of Fame).

Maria van Oosterwyck

Dutch, 1630-1693

Bouquet of Flowers in a Vase

About 1670s

Oil paint on canvas

Funds by exchange from T. Edward and Tullah Hanley in honor of longtime director, Otto Bach and his wife Cile Bach, 1997.219

Bartolomé Esteban Murillo

Spanish, 1619-1682

Portrait of Don Diego Félix de Esquivel y Aldama

About 1665-60

Oil paint on canvas

Gift of the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, 1961.67

Don Diego Félix de Esquivel y Aldama did not live past his thirty-first year of age—he died in 1659, shortly after becoming mayor of Vitoria, his native town. Like his father and brother, he joined the Order of Santiago, whose symbol, an elegant red cross with the lower section in the shape of a sword, appears prominently on his chest, cape, and behind the crest in the upper right corner of the painting. In the Denver full-length portrait, Don Diego is depicted against a neutral background with only a chair to define the interior space. His full-length, frontal standing pose and his attire reveal the formal intent of this portrait, which may have been commissioned upon his acceptance in December 1652 into the Order of Santiago, given the prominence of the emblem, or his election to mayor of Vitoria around 1658–59.

Bartolomé Esteban Murillo was baptized in Seville on January 1, 1618, and spent his entire life in his native city except for a brief sojourn in Madrid in 1658. Although he was only in Madrid for about eight months, from April to December, his stay proved fruitful for his artistic development. His acquaintance with Velázquez and the exposure to the art in royal and private collections, with artworks by master colorists such as Rubens, Titian, and Van Dyck, greatly influenced Murillo and his style.

Giuseppe Arcimboldo

Italian, 1527-1593

Summer

1572

Oil paint on canvas

Funds from Helen Dill bequest, 1961.56

Bartel Beham

German, 1502-1540

Portrait of a Woman

1529

Oil paint on panel

Gift of the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, 1961.180

Vittore Carpaccio

Italian, about 1465 - 1525/1526

Portrait of a Lady with a Book

About 1495

Oil paint on panel

Gift of the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, 1961.168

The lady holding a book is believed to be the poet Girolama Corsi Ramos. This painting by Vittore Carpaccio inspired her to write a sonnet praising the artist, “who from a piece of wood would make a living thing.”

Girolama Corsi was of Tuscan origin but married a member of the Spanish Ramos family and moved to Venice and Padua. The Denver panel is accepted as one of the few certain portraits by Vittore Carpaccio and is counted among his later production. Active primarily in Venice, the artist left memorable examples of his talent for anecdotal narrative and poetical interpretation in that city, such as the cycle painted for the Scuola di Sant’Orsola, a series of canvases depicting the legend of Saint Ursula, which is now in the Accademia in Venice.

In 2009 the Portrait of a Lady with a Book underwent a surface cleaning, which removed the old varnish that had been responsible for the overall yellowish and subdued tonalities and brought back to life Carpaccio’s color subtleties, a tribute to his Venetian artistic citizenship.

Thomas Cole

American, 1801-1848

Dream of Arcadia

About 1838

Oil paint on canvas

Gift of Mrs. Lindsey Gentry, 1954.71

Winslow Homer

American, 1836-1910

Two Figures by the Sea

1882

Oil paint on canvas

Funds from Helen Dill bequest, 1935.8

Willard Leroy Metcalf

American, 1858-1925

The Ten Cent Breakfast

1887

Oil paint on canvas

Gift of T. Edward and Tullah Hanley Collection, 1974.418

English Artist

The Crucifixion

About 1395

Oil on panel

Berger Collection Educational Trust, TL-18011

The Crucifixion was painted about 1395 by an unknown artist believed to have been working in England. Likely made as an altarpiece for a Roman Catholic Church, it is a rare survivor of Henry VIII’s dissolution of monasteries and abbeys that resulted in the loss of nearly all of the more than 30,000 altarpieces that once hung in late-medieval English churches. Jesus is shown nailed to the cross, wearing a crown of thorns. In the foreground at left is the Virgin Mary, her swooning body supported by one of the Holy Women. Behind the Virgin the beardless figure of St. John the Evangelist gazes up at Jesus while reaching out to support Mary. In the foreground at right stands a Roman centurion, depicted as a fashionable fourteenth-century gentleman. The picture was painted in the International Style, so named because of its wide popularity throughout Europe and England in the late Middle Ages. The elegant, refined style was characterized by slender, graceful figures and attention to luxurious materials – fabrics, jewels, and gold.

George Stubbs

English, 1724-1806

A Saddled Bay Hunter

1786

Oil paint on panel

Berger Collection Educational Trust, TL-18021

England’s greatest horse painter, George Stubbs first became interested in horses while apprenticing to his father, a leather and hide merchant. Although he began his career as a portraitist in his native Liverpool, Stubbs developed a strong interest in anatomy, both human and equine. He prepared illustrations for a midwifery textbook and, anticipating the major work of his career, dissected and drew dead horses. Settled in London during the 1760s, he published The Anatomy of the Horse. With his knowledge of the horse’s physique he produced startlingly realistic images that soon established him as an animal painter of the first rank. Bay hunters such as the majestic animal portrayed here—with his thick neck, strong body, and short legs—were ideal for traversing rough terrain.

John Singer Sargent

American, 1856-1925

Rosina Ferrara, Head of a Capri Girl

About 1878

Oil paint on canvas

Berger Collection Educational Trust, TL-17910

Known at the height of his career for large-scale portraits of the most fashionable people of the day, John Singer Sargent painted this intimate study of a young woman named Rosina Ferrara, whom he met on the island of Capri, off the coast of Naples, during the summer of 1878, when he was only twenty-two. Rosina was his most frequent model and muse. He was introduced to her by a fellow artist, Frank Hyde, to whom Sargent inscribed a dedication at the lower right of the picture. More a sketch than a finished painting, it combines careful brushwork in the depiction of Rosina’s delicate features with freely drawn outlines describing her back and upper body.

European & American Art Galleries, Level 6, North Building

The department of painting and sculpture oversees the European art collection before 1900 and the American art collection before 1945. Together they include more than 3,000 artworks and are composed of painting, sculpture, and prints.

The department also curates the internationally renowned Berger Collection of mostly British paintings, drawings, and medieval works of art, as well as a significant collection of predominantly French eighteenth- and nineteenth-century drawings on long-term loan to the museum by a private collector. Treasures of the Berger Collection, on view March 27, 2016 to May 29, 2017, presents a selection of paintings from the acclaimed traveling exhibition.

Throughout the years, gifts, bequests, purchases and acquisitions have shaped the European and American collections, from the early donation of Gustave Courbet’s Valley of the Black Pool in 1930 to the recent 2008 purchase of Lucien Lévy-Dhurmer’s The Dolomites.

The collection features significant French nineteenth-century works and important Renaissance and Old Master paintings, including the Samuel H. Kress collection of 37 paintings and sculptures, gifted to the Denver Art Museum in 1961. The collection also benefited from the bequest of Helen Dill, a Denver schoolteacher whose legacy allowed the purchase of several masterpieces, including Claude Monet’s Waterlilies, Camille Pissarro’s Autumn, Poplars, Éragny and Winslow Homer’s Two Figures by the Sea.

Recent publications on European and American art that the department has contributed expertise to include:

Current Staff

  • Timothy J. Standring, Gates Foundation Curator of Painting & Sculpture
  • Angelica Daneo, Curator of Painting & Sculpture
  • Kathleen Stuart, Curator of the Berger Collection
  • Emily Willkom, Curatorial Assistant for Painting & Sculpture
  • Melora McDermott-Lewis, Chief Learning and Engagement Officer