Just a few days ago, Atlanta’s High Museum of Art shared that they will receive a donation of 24 impressionist, post-impressionist, and modernist paintings. The donation comes from Doris and Shouky Shaheen, an Atlanta-based philanthropist and collection couple, who decided to gift the entirety of their collection to the museum.
‘We are exceptionally grateful for the generosity of this landmark gift,’ said Rand Suffolk, director of the High in the museum’s press release. ‘The Shaheens’ contribution single-handedly elevates the quality of our European collection and will greatly enhance the visitor experience.’
For the museum, the donation from the Shaheens stands to be one of the largest single gifts of European paintings ever given to the museum. In fact, the last donation of the kind to rival the Shaheens’ gift was a 1958 donation by the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, which served as a platform for the museum to build their collection of European paintings.
Included in the collection are works by Eugène Boudin, Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Claude Monet, Camille Pissarro, Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Édouard Vuillard. In addition to these are artworks by Henri Fantin-Latour, Henri Matisse, Amedeo Modigliani and Alfred Sisley, which will be the first by those artists to enter the High’s collection. Some of the highlights from the Shaheens’ collection include La bohemiènne à mandoline assise (c. 1860s-1870s) by Corot, Grand bouquet de chrysanthèmes (1882) by Fantin-Latour, Femme assise devant son piano (Marguerite) (c. 1924) by Matisse, Portrait de Beatrice Hastings (1914) by Modigliani, Maison au bord de la route (1885) by Monet, Paysanne assise (1882) by Pissarro, and Une rue à Marly (1876) by Sisley.
For the Shaheens, their collection began in the 1970s when they acquired their first work: Banlieue de Paris (c. 1922) by Maurice de Vlaminck. Having lived in Georgia’s capital city since 1965, they purchased the painting from a local gallery and over the next 50 years, they grew their collection one notable artwork at a time. Their donation to the High isn’t the first contribution they’ve made to the arts, either. In 2007, Doris introduced a the Shouky Shaheen Lecture series in honour of her husband’s birthday. The series brings together nationally and internationally recognized artists and scholars to the University of Georgia Lamar Dodd School of Art to present lectures on their field. They have also made financial contributions to the High as well as the University of Memphis and Birzeit University.
To show their gratitude for the donation, the High has decided to name a portion of the Stent Family Wing after the couple establishing the Doris and Shouky Shaheen Gallery, which will exhibit the donated works later this year.
‘It’s been a great blessing of our life together to build this collection and live with these incredible works,’ said the Shaheens in a statement. ‘Given our love for this collection, and our love for this city, we knew the High was the best home for these paintings. We’re thrilled that Atlantans will enjoy them for generations to come.’