The Albright-Knox Art Gallery, in partnership with the Detroit Institute of Arts, is proud to present Humble and Human, an exhibition in celebration of Ralph C. Wilson, Jr., a philanthropist, business leader, and advocate for the citizens of Western New York and Southeast Michigan—regions he called home. A long-term resident of Detroit and founding owner of the Buffalo Bills, Mr. Wilson profoundly shaped the industry and commerce of these two cities during his lifetime, and today his spirit is carried on in the work of the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation. His dedication to innovation and perseverance are also reflected in the collections of both museums, which have long served as cornerstones of the Great Lakes region.
Featuring more than forty paintings and sculptures from the collections of the Albright-Knox and the Detroit Institute of Arts by artists including Paul Cézanne, Edgar Degas, Paul Gauguin, Vincent van Gogh, Claude Monet, Berthe Morisot, Camille Pissarro, and Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Humble and Human has been organized in recognition of Mr. Wilson’s enduring compassion and goodwill toward others. During his lifetime, he amassed a small but impressive collection of paintings by Impressionist artists. Mr. Wilson saw in the works of these late nineteenth-century avant-gardists—especially those of Monet—reflections of the values and ideas that were close to his own heart: the celebration of simple pleasures and ordinary people.
In Buffalo, the installation will also spotlight works by Mary Cassatt, Childe Hassam, Winslow Homer, Willard Leroy Metcalf, John Singer Sargent, and other American artists inspired by the novel approach of the Impressionists and their expression of modern life.
The Albright-Knox will host Humble and Human, the first cultural exchange between these two museums, from February 2 to May 26, 2019, and the exhibition will be on view at the Detroit Institute of Arts from June 23 to October 13, 2019. It is accompanied by a publication, which includes an essay written by Richard R. Brettell, a leading scholar on Impressionism and French painting of the period 1830–1930 and Founding Director of The Edith O’Donnell Institute of Art History and the Margaret M. McDermott Distinguished Chair of Art and Aesthetic Studies at the University of Texas at Dallas.
This exhibition is organized in Buffalo by Godin-Spaulding Curator & Curator for the Collection Holly E. Hughes and in Detroit by Jill Shaw, Rebecca A. Boylan and Thomas W. Sidlik Curator of European Art, 1850–1970.