The Berger Collection, housed in the Denver Museum, acquires a painting by William Etty

William Etty (1787-1849)
Sleeping Female Nude
Oil on canvas - 62 x 77 cm
Denver, The Berger Collection at the Berger Museum
Photo : Galerie Aaron

22/3/10 – Acquisition–Denver, The Berger Collection at the Denver Museum – The Berger Collection is a private collection started in 1996 by William M. B. Berger (now deceased) and his wife, Bernadette Johnson Berger, with the goal of offering a panorama of British art history from the Middle Ages to now. Now owned by a trust (The Berger Collection Educational Trust), it includes around 200 art works (paintings, drawings, illuminations, stained glass) on deposit at the Denver Museum of Art [1] where they are displayed on a rotating basis. The greatest names in English art are represented here : Isaac Oliver, Thomas Gainsborough, John Constable, Thomas Lawrence, Johann Zoffany, David Roberts, Joshua Reynolds, George Stubbs, Benjamin West, Joseph Wright of Derby… Although on a smaller scale, the goal of this collection may be compared to that of the Yale Center for British Art in New Haven, founded by Paul Mellon.

In our review of the 2007 Maastricht Fair we pointed out, at the Aaron Gallery stand, a beautiful painting by the English artist William Etty (ill. 1) which has now been acquired by the Berger Collection. Female nudes were an essential part of Etty’s production, often influenced by Rubens. While the figure of the woman represented here does recall the works of the great Flemish master, this canvas alludes more directly to Velazquez. It traces back to The Toilet of Venus from the National Gallery in London, which the artist must have probably admired in the Morrit collection, at Rokeby in Yorkshire, William Etty’s home province, where it was held between 1813 and 1905.

The Berger Collection internet website
The Denver Art Museum internet website

Didier Rykner, lundi 22 mars 2010


[1] The internet website presentation of the collection mentions 200 works, but only 153 of them are offered online. There are no sculptures.

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