Hamilton Gives Impressionist Collection To Museum

Jan 16 2014 | 11:40am ET

A private-equity manager has donated some $100 million worth of Impressionist masterpieces to the Denver Art Museum.

The gift from the Hamilton Cos.'s Frederic Hamilton gives the museum its first canvas by Vincent van Gogh, as well as pieces by Paul Cézanne, Gustave Caillebotte, Edouard Manet, Claude Monet, Camille Pissarro and Pierre-August Renoir. The donation may be the largest in the DAM's history.

"This is a game-changing gift," museum director Christoph Heinrich said. "We will have the biggest collection in the west of Impressionist art."

"Frankly, our museum is derelict in one significant area, and that is Impressionism," Hamilton, who made his fortune in oil and gas, said. "I think this will be a big deal for the people of Colorado."

The 22 pieces are currently on loan to the DAM and will remain on display until Feb. 9. The museum will not take permanent possession of them until the 85-year-old Hamilton's death.

Hamilton said he agreed to donate the paintings after a sustained lobbying campaign by Heinrich. He said his family eventually agreed to the gift.

Hamilton has long been one of the DAM's biggest benefactors, serving as its chairman and giving millions to the museum.

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