The Museum's collection of modern European art is one of the largest and most distinguished components of its holdings, spanning 150 years of European painting and sculpture (1800-1950). Highlights include French Impressionist and post-Impressionist masterworks, German Expressionist masterpieces, and the largest public collection of paintings in the world by Max Beckmann.
Around 160 works are on view in 13 galleries which move chronologically from early 19th-century Romanticism through to mid-20th-century Surrealism and abstraction. Within this chronology, galleries are arranged thematically around genres such as landscape, portraiture, the body, and still life. The centerpiece of the installation is a large gallery devoted to the work of Beckmann. Also on view are major Impressionist paintings including Monet's Water Lilies
and five works by Vincent van Gogh. The installation also contains Matisse's masterpiece, Bathers with a Turtle
, many German Expressionist masterworks, and five pictures by Pablo Picasso.
The modern European art collection is particularly indebted to gifts from two St Louis businessmen and philanthropists: Morton D. May, and Joseph Pulitzer, Jr. View our Modern Art Collection
Simon Kelly has been the the curator and head of the department of modern and contemporary art at the Saint Louis Art Museum since September, 2010. He worked previously at the Metropolitan Museum of Art; the Walters Art Museum, Baltimore; and The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City. He received his BA from the University of Cambridge and his PhD from Oxford University, where he also taught art history.
Simon has organized numerous exhibitions including Degas, Impressionism, and the Paris Millinery Trade
(2017), Impressionist France: Visions of Nation from Le Gray to Monet
(2014), and Monet's Water Lilies
(2011), for which he wrote the accompanying catalogues, and Tragic and Timeless: The Art of Mark Rothko
(2014). He has curated the reinstallations of the Museum's collection of Modern European art, 1800-1950, and Contemporary art, as well as the newly opened Grace Taylor Broughton Sculpture Garden. Simon’s extensive publications have focused on nineteenth-century French painting, particularly the work of the Barbizon School painters, Theodore Rousseau and Jean-Francois Millet, and the Impressionists. He has also published on Max Beckmann. His essay, '"A big, good enterprise": Vincent Van Gogh and His Markets' in Becoming Van Gogh
(Yale University Press) was honored in 2013 as Outstanding Catalogue Essay by the Association of Art Museum Curators. Much of his writing has explored the relationship between artists and their markets.