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.



Group Exhibition Tours
All guided tours are at capacity for this exhibition. Limited space is available for self-guided tours. Call (405) 278-8213 or email for more information.
Oklahoma School Tours
Thanks to the generosity of the Inasmuch Foundation and Crawley Petroleum Corporation, all Oklahoma P-12th grade students and two chaperones per fifteen students receive free admission to the Museum when visiting as part of a tour group. Additionally, transportation fees can be reimbursed following your visit. We are currently full for docent-lead school tours for this exhibition but have availability for self-guided school tours. Call (405) 278-8213 or email for more information.


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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.

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

Museum Playdate (2-4 years old)
September ǀ Fields & Flowers

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

Love’s Third Thursday
Thursday, September 19 | 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.
Studio Sundays (All ages)
These programs are free with admission. Click here for details.


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.
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
Lust for Life
Thursday, July 18 | 7:30 pm
Babies at the Museum (0-2 years old)
August ǀ Water & Waves
Museum Playdate (2-4 years old)
August ǀ Water & Waves
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


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
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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