7 major works coming to BMA

January 31, 1992|By John Dorsey | John Dorsey,Art Critic

SEVEN MAJOR modern paintings and seven drawings from the Museum of Modern Art in New York will come to the Baltimore Museum of Art this fall, the BMA announced yesterday.

They will include van Gogh's "The Starry Night" (1889), Cezanne's "The Bather" (about 1885), Picasso's "Two Nudes" (1906), Edward Hopper's "House by the Railroad" (1925) and Jackson Pollock's "Number 1, 1948."

The exhibit will open Nov. 22 and run through Jan. 17, 1993. The works will come here in exchange for 10 paintings and five drawings by Matisse, which the BMA is sending from the Cone collection to a MOMA Matisse retrospective at the same time.

The just-closed and far larger exchange of 32 Monet paintings from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, for 50 works from the BMA's Cone collection attracted 215,000 people to the BMA, breaking the attendance record for a single show by more than 100,000.

The museum will not charge an extra ticket fee in addition to its regular admission charge, to see the MOMA pictures, as it did for the Monet exhibit. But there will be a system of timed admission to the show to avoid a crush of people, and a taped audio tour will be available. BMA director Arnold Lehman said yesterday the museum has made no estimate yet of the number of people that can be accommodated.

Brenda Richardson, BMA curator of modern painting and sculpture, is organizing the fall showing of MOMA works here. She said among the Matisse works going to New York will be the famous "Blue Nude" (1907) as well as the "Pink Nude" (1935), "Yellow Dress" (1929-1931), "Interior with Dog" (1934), "The Pewter Jug" (1917) and "Woman with Turban" (1917).

Ms. Richardson said that "almost all" of the works going to New York also went to Boston, which means that a number of the BMA's best known Matisses will have been out of town for six of the 16 months from October 1991 to January 1993. The curator said it was not harmful for the works to send them on another trip so soon, or "we wouldn't have done it."

Of their being away from Baltimore and not available to BMA visitors, she said, "We wouldn't have chosen" to send them so soon again "if we'd had a choice. One wishes [the MOMA Matisse retrospective] were a year from then, but it wasn't."

And, she added, "What we're able to have as reciprocation is so astoundingly exciting for the community." She called the seven paintings "major icons of the museum in New York" and "keystone paintings of modernism." The works were chosen with theBMA's own collections in mind, she said. The Picasso painting was selected, for instance, because it complements the Cone collection's Picasso works on paper from the same period, the Hopper because the BMA does not own a Hopper painting.

The paintings coming here include Henri Rousseau's "The Sleeping Gypsy" (1897) and Marc Chagall's "I and the Village" (1911). The seven drawings are still to be chosen by Ms. Richardson and Jay M. Fisher, curator of prints, drawings and photographs.

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