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High Museum, three other institutions strike partnership to share art

By Howard Pousner

The High Museum of Art has struck another new partnership, this time with the Louvre, the just-opened Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art and the Terra Foundation for American Art.

But this partnership is different than the high-profile recent collaboration with the Louvre or the current one with New York’s Museum of Modern Art that have mainly brought art to Atlanta. The three museums and art foundation on Wednesday announced the launch of a four-year partnership to produce intimate, focused exhibits of American and European art from their combined collections to be mounted by the three museums, plus related programming.

The first exhibit, a six-painting show exploring the birth of American landscape painting titled “American Encounters: Thomas Cole and the Narrative Landscape,” comes to the High on September 22. Including two works from the High’s permanent collection, the exhibit premieres at the Louvre on Jan. 14. It will be enhanced on that day by a day-long symposium on the history of American art collections in the United States and Europe involving leadership from all four institutions and other experts.

The works will be displayed within the permanent collections galleries of the Atlanta, Paris and Bentonville, Ark., museums, to add depth to the museums’ own holdings.

Curators from each of the partnering institutions are working together to plan subsequent shows.

From 2006 to 2009, the High brought seven exhibits from the Louvre collection here as part of the “Louvre Atlanta” initiative. One of the early exhibits included a monumental Samuel F.B. Morse painting loaned by the Chicago and Paris-based Terra Foundation. Focused on American masterworks, Crystal Bridges, with major support of the family foundation started by Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton, opened last month.

“This project is a natural extension of our previous collaborations with the High and the Terra,” Louvre president and director Henri Loyrette said in a statement, “and responds to a great demand for seeing and studying American art in France.”

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