Baltimore—The Walters Art Museum announces today the planned gift by Robert E. Meyerhoff of 21 works of art depicting flowers assembled by his late wife, Jane B. Meyerhoff. This collection includes a selection of watercolors, pastels and drawings by artists such as Delacroix, Cézanne, Schiele, Mondrian, Matisse, Klee, Stella, Dalí and Magritte. Since Jane Meyerhoff was allergic to fragrance she could not have flowers in the house. She decided instead to collect flowers on paper. In the spring of 2007, these artworks were on view at the Walters in the focus show Floral Still Lifes from the Collection of Robert and Jane Meyerhoff.

“We are honored that Robert Meyerhoff is donating this intimate collection of floral still lifes by masters of Romanticism, Impressionism, Surrealism and beyond to share with the public. These works will continue to add depth to the museum’s early modern collections,” said Walters Director Gary Vikan. “We are grateful for their legacy of philanthropy throughout the region.”

The Meyerhoffs are distinguished for having amassed one of the most prized collections of post-World War II modern masters. Jane Meyerhoff’s allergy led her to acquire this less well-known collection of floral still-life art for her own private enjoyment. The first work purchased was a Mondrian in 1991, and the last was a Magritte in 2003.

“I think that Jane would have been very pleased that these works are being donated to the Walters Art Museum,” said Meyerhoff. “She admired the Walters very much.”

To celebrate this gift, the Walters will have on view three works from this collection. They will be located on the 4th floor of the Centre Street Building from April 4–June 24, 2012, to coincide with the 23rd annual Art Blooms, April 12–15. Art Blooms enhances the Walters’ collection with interpretive floral arrangements by regional garden clubs.

The artworks on view are:

  • Joseph Stella, Waterlily (1944): Stella is acknowledged as the first American Futurist. Waterlily was created toward the end of Stella’s life, when his critical reception and health were in decline. The work emanates fragility and transience and recalls the strong colors of the tropics with which the artist was enamored.
  • Andy Warhol, Hand with Flowers (1956): Warhol was a leading figure in the Pop Art movement. This early work, Hand with Flowers, predates his iconic Pop Art prints of the 1960s and 1970s. The broken outlines, characteristic of Warhol’s draftsmanship during this period, are interrupted by colored areas in a manner foreshadowing the artist’s silkscreen work.
  • René Magritte, L’éclair (1959): Magritte is one of the best-known artists associated with Surrealism. In French, éclair can mean a flash of lightning or a photographic flash. The silhouetted bouquet of flowers in L’éclair has the look of an old-fashioned tracing automatically generated by a lantern or the crisp outlines of one of Man Ray’s photograms. Magritte uses conspicuously unblended dabs of color to mock post-Impressionist pointillism.

The Walters Art Museum

The Walters Art Museum is located in downtown Baltimore’s historic Mount Vernon Cultural District at North Charles and Centre streets and is one of only a few museums worldwide to present a comprehensive history of art from the third millennium B.C. to the early 20th century. Collection highlights include Egyptian mummies, Renaissance suits of armor, Fabergé eggs, Art Nouveau jewelry and old master paintings. Among its thousands of treasures, the Walters holds the finest collection of ivories, jewelry, enamels and bronzes in America and a spectacular reserve of illuminated manuscripts and rare books. The Walters’ Egyptian, Greek and Roman, Byzantine, Ethiopian and western medieval art collections are among the best in the nation, as are the museum’s holdings of Renaissance and Asian art. Every major trend in French painting during the 19th century is represented by one or more works in the Walters’ collection.

# # #