Impressive collection of international masterpieces to be shown at the Fine Arts Center 

click to enlarge BERTHE MORISOT
  • Berthe Morisot

'We love to share it because we want to liberate art," says Tobia Mower of the fine art collection she and her husband Dr. Morton Mower have amassed, a portion of which they have lent to our own Fine Arts Center. "If it stays here in our house all the time..." she continues, "what good is it if we can't share it?"

For 20 years, the Mowers have been collecting the kind of work that speaks to their personal tastes, impressive and recognizable pieces that range from Pop Art to Impressionism to some that Morton Mower fondly calls "miscellaneous." Most impressively, the couple owns about 170 Rembrandt etchings, plus works by Monet, Warhol, Matisse, Degas and more. Much more.

"We don't collect a great many from any single artist," Morton Mower says, "but if you had to choose what would be the one or two quintessential pieces from that artist, that's what we gravitate toward."

Joy Armstrong, Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the FAC, says the collection does include some of those works that define the collection's represented artists. When asked how she chose the artwork for Everyday Extraordinary, she says: "There's really a core of what most people would consider masterpieces by internationally renowned artists and the most significant names in art history, so there's an obvious grouping in their collection."

This includes such hallmark works as Monet's Rivière et Moulin Près de Giverny (1885); As I Opened Fire (1966), offset lithographs by Roy Lichtenstein; and Lucie Léon au Piano (1892), a painting by Berthe Morisot, and a personal favorite of Armstrong's. "There's something about the subject's expression," Armstrong says of this piece, "and the activity she's engaged in, and the color palette, and components of that particular painting that, for me, make it a show-stopper."

The Mowers have a harder time choosing their favorites. "All of them," Tobia Mower says in answer to that question. "You'll understand why we say that."

And we're inclined to believe her. Not only will museumgoers be allowed to get close to the artwork, but the FAC will also provide magnifying glasses to allow for a better look at the details of the Rembrandt etchings in particular, allowing for a unique viewing experience that should maximize the impact.

Though the Mowers live in Denver and Beaver Creek, where they display their art in their own homes, we're lucky that they have chosen to lend it to our local venue. Armstrong says that seeing this kind of work is often a "destination experience," Something people expect to find in New York or Paris, so "it's a special opportunity to be able to experience some of the work by these masters here in Colorado Springs."

Members-only opening reception, June 23, 5-7 p.m., on public display June 24-Sept. 17, Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, 30 W. Dale St., csfineartscenter.org.


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