How Do You See It?

Janet Monafo, “Open Heart,” 1994, pastel on paper, 46 x 58 in. (c) The New Britain Museum of American Art 2016

The New Britain Museum of American Art in Connecticut is currently showcasing over 80 paintings by more than 30 American artists whose works and careers were championed by Boston-based collectors Ernst and Gail van Metzsch.

“As We See It” is an outstanding look into the aesthetic preferences of collectors Ernst and Gail von Metzsch. Having spent nearly 40 years collecting art, the Boston-based couple has built a robust collection of stunning works, many of which are on view now at the New Britain Museum of American Art.

Featuring more than 80 paintings by 30 artists, the exhibition features local, national, and international stars, including — among many others — George Nick, Paul Rahilly, Janet Monafo, Steve Hawley, Ben Aronson, and Ed Stitt. “Today, the collection reflects a multitude of styles and subjects best described as ‘contemporary realism,’ and includes naturalistic landscapes, still lifes, portraits, and interiors, as well as colorful, evocative abstractions,” the museum reports.

“During the early phases of developing their collection, Gail and Ernst began acquiring urban scenes, and gradually expanded to seascapes and more broadly to local artists whose work greatly interested them. Rather than collecting encyclopedically, the couple acquired the work of select artists in-depth, a practice that reflects their dedication to nurturing and developing personal relationships with artists through their focused support. Invested and interested in artists, their lives, and the worlds around them, as well as the technical issues and processes that inform their work, Gail and Ernst von Metzsch have amassed their collection through active and ongoing conversations with artists and also with curators, gallerists, and fellow collectors whom they admire and with whom they share a dialogue.”

“As We See It: The Collection of Gail and Ernst von Metzsch” opened on October 21 and will remain on view through January 8. To learn more, visit The New Britain Museum of American Art.

This article was featured in Fine Art Today, a weekly e-newsletter from Fine Art Connoisseur magazine. To start receiving Fine Art Today for free, click here.

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Andrew Webster is the former Editor of Fine Art Today and worked as an editorial and creative marketing assistant for Streamline Publishing. Andrew graduated from The University of North Carolina at Asheville with a B.A. in Art History and Ceramics. He then moved on to the University of Oregon, where he completed an M.A. in Art History. Studying under scholar Kathleen Nicholson, he completed a thesis project that investigated the peculiar practice of embedded self-portraiture within Christian imagery during the 15th and early 16th centuries in Italy.


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