Berthe Morisot, The Lesson in the Garden (La leçon dans le jardin), 1886. Oil paint on canvas; 23 9/16 x 28 ¾ in. Collection of Frederic C. Hamilton, bequeathed to the Denver Art Museum.

The Frederic C. Hamilton Collection

Berthe Morisot, The Lesson in the Garden (La leçon dans le jardin), 1886. Oil paint on canvas; 23 9/16 x 28 ¾ in. Collection of Frederic C. Hamilton, bequeathed to the Denver Art Museum.

In January 2014, Denver-based philanthropist Frederic C. Hamilton (1927–2016), the museum's chairman emeritus, bequeathed 22 Impressionist masterworks from his private collection to the museum.

This capstone gift marked 35 years of Fred Hamilton’s generous giving to the Denver Art Museum. Over the years, Hamilton supported numerous endeavors and exhibitions, and was the driving force behind the Daniel Libeskind designed addition to the museum, which opened in 2006 and was named after him. "The addition of these paintings to the Denver Art Museum collection is a pivotal moment in this institution’s history," said Christoph Heinrich, Frederick and Jan Mayer Director, "Frederic Hamilton’s generosity, vision and commitment to making Denver a destination for art are unparalleled and have forever changed the museum’s ability to deliver world-class exhibitions and programs."

The gift include four works by the Impressionist master Claude Monet, including Path in the Wheat Fields at the Pourville, 1882, and The Houses in the Snow, Norway, 1895, that illustrate a range of output during the peak of Monet’s career; a painting by Vincent Van Gogh, Edge of a Wheat Field with Poppies, 1887, the first Van Gogh artwork to enter the museum’s collection; three paintings by Eugène Boudin, the first by the artist to enter the museum’s collection, including Scene at the Beach in Trouville, 1881; along with paintings by Paul Cézanne, another first for the museum’s collection, Édouard Manet, Berthe Morisot, Camille Pissarro, Auguste Renoir and Alfred Sisley, as well as those of their American contemporaries William Merritt Chase and Childe Hassam.

The addition of these 22 works elevates the museum’s holdings of Impressionist works to one of the best in the Western United States.

"Collecting these paintings has been a joy for the past four decades and I am happy to know that future generations of visitors to the Denver Art Museum will be able to enjoy them as much as I have," Hamilton said in 2014. "It is my hope that this gift will make the museum’s collection an even greater resource to everyone who lives in or visits our great city."

Hamilton served as chairman of the Denver Art Museum Board of Trustees from 1994 to 2013 and played a pivotal role in the successful expansion of the museum campus with the 146,000-square-foot addition by Daniel Libeskind, which opened in 2006. The building, which bears Hamilton’s name, now houses this collection in new galleries dedicated to the 19th Century in European and American Art.

"We owe Frederic Hamilton an enormous debt of gratitude for this landmark gift in the museum’s 100-year history of collection-building," said Denver Art Museum Chairman Lanny Martin. “Fred’s legacy has lifted the museum to new levels and secured the Denver Art Museum’s place as a participant on the world stage.”

Impressionistic painting of man sitting with his art supplies in the middle of a green field.

Paul Cézanne, A Painter at Work, about 1874-75. Oil paint on panel. Frederic C. Hamilton Collection, bequeathed to the Denver Art Museum. 28.2017.

Exhibitions

A selection of the paintings gifted to the museum by Frederic C. Hamilton are on view in The 19th Century in European and American Art.

Works from this collection were also previously displayed in exhibitions such as Claude Monet: The Truth of Nature and Nature as Muse.

Browse the Collection

Explore more of the works from the Frederic C. Hamilton Collection in the Denver Art Museum's online collection.