Treasures of British Art: The Berger Collection showcases more than 60 paintings recently gifted to the museum by the Berger Collection Educational Trust (BCET) in 2018. The BCET’s gift is the largest gift of European old masters to the DAM since the museum received the Kress Collection in the 1950s. The exhibition will present a chronological selection of works ranging from the 1400s through the late 1800s, telling the story of Britain’s rich cultural history. The exhibition will invite visitors to immerse themselves in the places, personalities, and events that shaped a nation over the course of five centuries.
Treasures of British Art will present 500 years of British cultural history through the stories of its people, captured by the enduring brilliance of artists of the time. The exhibition will feature devotional images, portraits, landscapes and sporting scenes by the greatest artists of the British School—including Thomas Gainsborough, Thomas Lawrence and John Constable—as well as non-British artists who spent significant time in Britain—such as the Flemish artist Anthony van Dyck, and American artists Benjamin West and John Singer Sargent.
This exhibition will present groundbreaking results of recent research conducted on the collection’s renowned group of portraits from the Tudor era. Among the findings: the portrait of Henry VIII is one of seven stylistically similar Tudor royal portraits that were likely all painted by the same artist. What’s more, five of these pictures – including the Berger Henry VIII – were found to have been painted on wood from the same tree. More details to come in 2019.
Beyond the groundbreaking forensic discoveries, visitors will be fascinated by the timeless relevance of artwork subjects featured in Treasures of British Art. The exhibition will display how international exchange influenced British art, history and culture. Not since the DAM’s 1999 landmark exhibition 600 Years of British Painting will so many works from the Berger Collection be on view.
A catalog accompanying the exhibition is already available in The Shop at the Denver Art Museum and through the online shop. A related academic symposium will be held at the DAM in September 2019. Organized by the DAM and curated by Kathleen Stuart, curator of the Berger Collection at the DAM.