Founded on Feb. 4, 1870, the museum last displayed its complete collection of Monet oil paintings 25 years ago. Many of the paintings were brought to Boston during Monet’s lifetime, making “Monet and Boston: Lasting Impression" — which opens April 18 and runs through Aug. 23 — “a once-in-a-generation chance,” the museum said.
“Boston has been a center for the collecting and appreciation of Monet’s paintings since the late 19th century,” it said in a statement. The Monet collection in Boston is one of the largest outside France of works by the Impressionist master.
It includes pieces from Monet's beloved “Water Lilies” series, as well as early works from the mid-1860s and later experimental paintings such as “Afternoon Effect," done in the sun-kissed French Riviera resort town of Antibes. There are also more recognizable works including “Grainstacks."
The MFA, home to more than 500,000 works of art from around the globe, welcomes more than 1 million visitors a year, and it has been taking its collection on the road with help from a nearly $2 million grant to help create traveling exhibitions.
Over the past decade, it opened an Art of the Americas wing with four levels of American art from ancient to modern, as well as new galleries for contemporary art and social and learning spaces. Last spring, the world-class museum was accused of racism after black middle school students said they were harangued and mistreated on a class trip by other museum patrons and a staff member. The museum publicly apologized, launched an internal investigation and commissioned an independent review.
Its jubilee year will be one of “inclusion, generosity and community,” director Matthew Teitelbaum pledged. The museum was throwing open its doors to the public for free on Wednesday as part of its birthday celebration.
Congratulations on its 150th birthday poured in from other leading museums, including New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art, which also was founded in 1870. “Birthday twins!” The Met said on Twitter. The Getty Museum in Los Angeles tweeted an image of Renoir's “La Promenade” and noted it was painted the same year the Boston museum was founded.