Van Gogh, Monet among 62 works going to US Gallery

Published on NewsOK Modified: May 22, 2014 at 5:27 pm •  Published: May 22, 2014

WASHINGTON (AP) — Rarely seen paintings by Vincent van Gogh, Claude Monet and Edgar Degas are among an impressive collection of 62 artworks that have been transferred to the National Gallery of Art after being held for decades in a private estate, the museum said Thursday.

The paintings, sculptures and other works are among 110 objects bequeathed to the museum from the estate of museum benefactor Paul Mellon after his death in 1999. They remained in the care of his widow, Rachel "Bunny" Mellon, at their Virginia home until her death in March.

A major highlight of the bequest is Van Gogh's painting "Still Life of Oranges and Lemons with Blue Gloves," which now joins the museum collection and will be put on display beginning June 7.

Acquiring any Van Gogh is cause for celebration, said curator Kimberly Jones, but this one is particularly important. It was created in a tumultuous moment in the artist's life during a brief time between hospitalizations after Van Gogh's mental breakdown in 1888, when he cut off part of his ear. As an artwork, it's "a real knockout," Jones said.

"It's this very emotionally wrought period of time" after artist Paul Gauguin moved out of the house they had shared, and Van Gogh is mourning the break in their relationship, Jones said. "I think this still life, of all the still lives, is the most Gauguin-like in terms of the pallete, the symbolism. ... I can't help but wonder, looking at this, if Paul Gauguin's presence isn't being very much felt in this painting."

The Mellon family already released 48 other artworks during Rachel Mellon's lifetime, including Van Gogh's painting "Green Wheat Fields, Auvers" in December. Most of the museum's Van Gogh works will be displayed together in June.

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