Manet: Portraying Life opened Sunday at the Toledo Museum of Art, the only showing in the United States before it heads to London. The exhibit, organized by the museum and the Royal Academy of Arts London, is locally sponsored by Block Communications, Inc., and BP America.
It is a portrait exhibit of work by Edouard Manet, not to be confused with the impressionist artist Claude Monet. Manet (1832-1883) is described as the father of modern painting in the 19th century, focusing on urban life in Paris. The exhibit, five years in the making, includes paintings from 31 lenders from Budapest to Tokyo.
There were several sneak peeks of the exhibit and the first folks from outside the museum staff to see it were guests of Block Communications, Inc. -- The Blade's parent company -- at a breakfast and tour. Next, major donors, lenders, BCI and BP personnel were privy to a tour and reception, followed by a dinner for a select group in the Great Gallery with Brian Kennedy, the museum's director and wife Mary; Larry Nichols, TMA's senior curator and curator for the Manet exhibit, and wife Carol and daughter Margaret, and David "Deke" Welles, Jr., TMA's board chairman, and wife Hope.
Mr. Kennedy said, "Manet: Portraying Life invites us to consider how portraits can reveal, conceal, and inspire... how we represent ourselves to each other..."
Mr. Nichols described the art as "...provocative and luscious, unrelenting, confrontational -- and rewarding."
The dinner, for TMA Board, Royal Academy of Arts London representatives, and lenders to the exhibition, included Allan Block, chairman of BCI, and his wife, Susan Block, and their guests Alex Mantis of New York and Milan, Italy, with Gabriela Herzberg of New York and Brussels.
BP-Husky Refining, LLC, was represented by president Mark Dangler and Barbara Dangler, and other BP leaders including Mary Caprella.
Royal Academy of Arts London representatives included Kathleen Soriano and MaryAnn Stevens, co-curator of the Manet exhibit; Stephen Knerly, of the Consulate of France, and Colin Bailey, Manet catalog co-author. Art historian Karen Wilkin, reviewing the exhibition for the Wall Street Journal was there, as were folks from New York's Sotheby's and Christie's, and Cleveland Museum of Art.
Also at the event were board members and spouses, including Dick and Fran Anderson, Betsy and Tom Brady, Jim and Kristine Hoffman, George and Kathy Jones, Carol and Mike Anderson, Chuck and Cindy Dana and daughter Taylor; Sara Jane and Bill De Hoff, Dennis and Sheila Johnson, Susan Morgan, John and Yolanda Szuch, and Cynthia Thompson, and docent president Judi Selden, ambassador president Cindy Rimmelin, and Amir Khan of the museum's "Circle 2445" board.
The Manet exhibit requires a ticket. Members are free, $8 adults, $5 students/seniors, or $12 for a combination ticket with the museum's Made in Hollywood exhibit. For tickets call 419-255-8000, extension 7448. All other exhibits are free.