The Bass family largesse to the city of Fort Worth just keeps giving. The art collection amassed by patriarch Perry and matriarch Nancy Lee has been loaned to the Kimbell Art Museum for exhibition. It is, as one would imagine, rich with names of some of the greats from the impressionist era to after World War II.
The Bass elders moved from dabblers to serious collectors in 1963 when, on a grand tour with their four sons, they stopped in front of the Knoedler Gallery in Paris. In the window was a painting by Raoul Dufy, The Deauville Harbor (Le Bassin de Deauville). The painting moved Perry, who was an avid sailor.
“The painting stoked his enthusiasm enough to overcome his natural fiscal caution,” writes Eric Lee in the catalog’s preface. After several visits to the gallery to view and deliberate, Perry and Nancy acquired the painting and hung it in their Fort Worth dining room.
It wasn’t long before they began loosening their purse strings with regularity, adding paintings by Monet, Pissarro, Renoir, Matisse, Chagall, Rothko and two exceptional paintings by van Gogh and two by Picasso.
Perry presented Nancy Lee a cast of Auguste Rodin’s The Kiss on their 25th wedding anniversary. It accompanies sculptures by Rodin, Maillol and Segal in the exhibition of 37 works on display.
Sid Bass, the eldest of the couple’s sons, said, “The collection grew with no design other than a love of the art that gave them pleasure, usually with strong and happy colors, and became an integral part of their lives.”
The Bass Collection will be on display through May 24.
of Nancy Lee
and Perry R. Bass
Through May 24
Kimbell Art Museum
3333 Camp Bowie Blvd.