Van Gogh, Monet, Degas: The Mellon Collection of French Art from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts

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Featuring more than seventy works by French and European masters such as Degas, Manet, Monet, Morisot, Renoir, Rousseau, and Van Gogh, this exhibition celebrates Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon’s extraordinary gift of nineteenth and early twentieth-century French art to the VMFA. After first becoming interested in British sporting art, Paul Mellon began to collect nineteenth-century French art in the 1940s with his second wife, Rachel Lambert Mellon. While their collection largely consists of Impressionist paintings, it also includes masterpieces from every important school of French art—from Romanticism and the Barbizon School through Cubism and the School of Paris. Taken together, these works exemplify the Mellons’ personal vision and highly original collecting strategies, which provide a context for understanding this unique collection.

The exhibition reproduces the invigorating experience of the Mellons’ collection, in which each work resonates with and gains greater strength from its lovingly created context. Van Gogh, Monet, Degas is presented in a series of sections including Cyphers of Modernity, Horses, Flowers, Views of Paris, People, Water, Interiors and Tables, The French Countryside, The Transformation of the Ordinary, and VMFA: Toward Impressionism. Opening with Cyphers of Modernity, visitors will be introduced to two of the collection’s most characteristic paintings: Berthe Morisot’s Young Woman Watering a Shrub and Théodore Géricault’s Mounted Jockey. These paintings are emblematic of the collection in their commitment to modernism, as well as their subject matter, which appealed to Mrs. Mellon’s love of gardening and Mr. Mellon’s passion for horses and horseracing.



Special Programming and Events:

Public Exhibition Tours
Visitors may choose to visit this exhibition with their general admission ticket, or they may register for a public exhibition tour, led by OKCMOA staff. Public exhibition tours provide visitors with conversation-based insights and in-depth experiences focusing on the artwork and featured artists.

$15 for members and $25 for non-members, pre-registration recommended.

Thursday, September 19 | 6 pm

Van Gogh on the Big Screen
An original, month-long retrospective film series focusing on on the life and legacy of legendary artist Vincent Van Gogh.

Lust for Life
Thursday, July 18 | 7:30 pm

*All screenings of Loving Vincent will be followed by Loving Vincent: The Impossible Dream, a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at the making of the world’s first fully painted feature.

Love’s Third Thursday
Thursday, July 18 | 5-9 pm
Gather your friends and head to OKCMOA for a late night museum experience like never before! Visit Van Gogh, Monet, Degas, enjoy drinks and music on the revamped rooftop lounge, and catch a film in the theater. Plus, visit during Love’s Third Thursday and save $3 on your visit to Van Gogh, Monet, Degas! Free for members, $12 for non-members.
Public Exhibition Lecture
“In the Studio and en plein air: Impressionism Among Friends” by Dr. Katie Hanson, Associate Curator of Paintings at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston
This lecture is free and open to the public thanks to the generous support of Oklahoma Humanities
Group Exhibition Tours
Reservations required. Tour guides are available with notice three weeks in advance. Group tickets are $15 per person, and include admission to all exhibitions on view. Call (405) 278-8213 or email for more information.
Studio Sundays (All ages)
These programs are free with admission. Click here for details.
August ǀ Water & Waves
September ǀ Fields & Flowers
August ǀ Water & Waves
September ǀ Fields & Flowers


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Past events:
Thursday, June 20 | 5-9 pm
  • 5 pm | Gallery access and reception with cocktails for Moderns
  • 6:30 pm | Moderns-exclusive guided tour
Friday, June 21 | 10 am-8 pm
  • 10:30 am, 12:30 and 2:30 pm | Exhibition Highlights: Members may meet in the galleries for a 30-minute exhibition overview with Museum staff.
  • 5 pm | Refreshments available in the Museum lobby
  • 6 pm | The Mellon Collection, Edgar Degas & The Age of Photography by Dr. Michael Anderson, Director of Curatorial Affairs
Van Gogh, Monet, Degas galleries and the lecture will only be open to members on June 21 and all membership levels are invited. For information on becoming a Museum member, click here.

Sunday, June 23 | 1-4 pm Paper Horse Relief

Babies at the Museum (Ages 0-2 years)
July ǀ Clip & Clop
Friday, July 5
Saturday, July 6

Museum Playdate (Ages 2-4 years)
July ǀ Clip & Clop
Friday, July 12
Saturday, July 13

Loving Vincent Double Feature*
Friday, July 5 | 4:30 & 8 pm
Saturday, July 6 | 4:30 & 8 pm
Sunday, July 7 | 2 & 5:30 pm
Van Gogh
Thursday, July 11 | 7:30 pm


Exhibition organized by the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.

This exhibition is made possible through support from the following generous donors:

Inasmuch Foundation
Kirsten and David Griffin
Oklahoma City Convention & Visitors Bureau
Virginia W. and James C. Meade
Oklahoma Humanities
Jennifer and James Weinland
Bank of Oklahoma
J. Edward Barth
Clements Foods Foundation
Mr. and Mrs. William R. Cook, II
Linda D. Garrett
The Payne Family

Image credit: Vincent van Gogh (Dutch, 1853–1890). Daisies, Arles (detail), 1888. Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond. Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon. Photo: Travis Fullerton. © Virginia Museum of Fine Arts | Edgar Degas  (French, 1834–1917). At the Races: Before the Start (detail), ca. 1885-92. Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond. Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon. Photo: Katherine Wetzel. © Virginia Museum of Fine Arts | 

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