Utah Donors Help Museum Open First Impressionist Exhibit

Utah Donors Help Museum Open First Impressionist Exhibit

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Arts Specialist Carole Mikita reportingThe Utah Museum of Fine Arts has just opened a new exhibit of some of the most famous French painters -- and the works have a Utah connection.

Museums around the world receive art in several ways -- curators buy pieces, famous works come for a period of time as part of traveling exhibits, art is often willed to a museum and there are many private collectors who allow museums to borrow their works.

That is the case with the Impressionist paintings here now.

A seascape by Claude Monet... Sailing vessels by Camille Pissaro... Mount Saint Michel by Paul Signac...

These paintings are part of an exhibit that celebrates one of the artistic revolutions in history - the Impressionist period.

Six works come from the private collection of John and Toni Bloomberg.

"It's the first comprehensive collection of Impressionist paintings here in Utah, and the reason why we like to lend them is basically Toni and I think of ourselves just as conservators of these great works of art," John Bloomberg says.

When the Bloombergs moved from Manhattan to the West 20 years ago, they began collecting art. First Utah paintings, including a collection they donated to the Moran Eye Center. After that, the paintings of famous American artists. This is a Walter Ufer, and over the fireplace, Maynard Dixon.

What they wish now is to share their French discoveries, especially with children.

"It's wonderful to walk through the Louvre and see all the schoolchildren just enjoying everything and looking at everything and learning so much," Toni Bloomberg says.

That is already happening at this museum. Clearly the art is having the desired effect. And these paintings will be seen by literally thousands of schoolchildren. The museum has a partnership with the Salt Lake City School District. Once again this year, all fourth graders will be able to study now the Impressionist period.

The Bloombergs say they always worry when they lend works of art, but curators have 'handled with care,' and they like the exhibit space.

They say they enjoy collecting together. They say they must both absolutely love a painting before they buy it.

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