Denver Art Museum announces largest gift ever

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(Photo: Courtesy of Denver Art Museum)
<p>Paul Cézanne, “A Painter at Work,” about 1874-75. Bequest of Frederic C. Hamilton.</p>
Photo: Vincent van Gogh, &#039;Edge of a Wheat Field with Poppies&#039;
Vincent van Gogh, "Edge of a Wheat Field with Poppies." Bequest of Frederic C. Hamilton.

Denver-based philanthropist Frederic Hamilton is donating 22 Impressionist masterworks reported to be worth more than $100-million-dollars.

The bequest includes the first Vincent Van Gogh to enter the museum’s collection as well as four works by Impressionist master Claude Monet.

Frederic Hamilton says Denver Art Museum directors persistently lobbied him for the paintings.

“Oh like dogs, they did hang on like dogs," Hamilton laughs.

University of Texas Art History Professor Richard Bretell has written many books on Impressionism and says this gift will lift the museum’s reputation.

"They are paintings that could hand at the Musee D’Orsay in Paris and they are going to hang in the Denver Arts Museum and how great is that," he mused.

The paintings have never been shown in public--and they’re on display at the museum only until February 9th.

The bequest will become part of the Museum’s permanent collection when Hamilton passes.