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Two exceptional European paintings added to Toledo Museum of Art collection

Toledo Museum of Art, Toledo Art Museum, Toledo Museum

The Toledo Museum of Art (TMA) has acquired two remarkable works of European art with funds from the Museum’s Georgia Welles Apollo Society. The paintings, by John Anster Fitzgerald (English, 1819-1906) and Dirck Hals (Dutch, 1591-1656), will be on view in the Museum’s Gallery 32 and Gallery 23 beginning Oct. 17.

“We are delighted when high-caliber European masterworks are added to our esteemed collection,” said TMA’s Edward Drummond and Florence Scott Libbey Director Brian Kennedy. “Thanks to The Georgia Welles Apollo Society and Senior Curator Lawrence Nichols for enabling us to share even broader and deeper stories about Victorian England and the Dutch Golden Age.”

 John Anster Fitzgerald is known for his fantastical and detailed fairy paintings, a genre depicting supernatural beings, both benign and nightmarish, that was particularly popular during the Victorian era in England. The canvas acquired by TMA, The Fairies’ Favourite (circa 1860-65), portrays a vibrant fairy gathering in a wooded glen, surrounded by an elaborate sculptural branch frame.

In Dirck Hals’s Merry Company on a Terrace (1623), a group of 10 male and female revelers dressed in fine fashion are depicted enjoying the day. Seated and standing in a variety of poses across the width of the canvas, the animated party is flanked by a statue of eros and architectural details. Hals is a brother of the celebrated Dutch artist Frans Hals, whose work TMA also has collected and whose family portraits form an international loan exhibition that debuted Oct. 13 at the Museum.

 “These two superb paintings by English and Dutch masters add significantly to TMA’s outstanding European collection,” said Lawrence W. Nichols, TMA William Hutton senior curator of European and American painting and sculpture before 1900.

The Georgia Welles Apollo Society is named for the Museum’s Henri Matisse mural, Apollo, as well as the group’s 1986 founders, Georgia and David Welles. The Georgia Welles Apollo Society has purchased more than 50 of works of art for TMA over the past 30 years. Each year, the group works with one of the Museum’s curators to select one or more work(s) to purchase for the Museum’s collections with their pooled membership dues. Membership is open to all; for information, please contact Todd Ahrens in the Museum’s Development department at (419) 255-8000 ext. 7421 or tahrens@toledomuseum.org.