Rand Suffolk, the director of the museum, told the New York Times that the collection is a “godsend.” He continued, “It’s the kind of blessing that we would not be able to orchestrate on our own.”
The gift features works by Impressionist masters Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, and Alfred Sisley. While the museum previously did not own any works by Sisley, this gift includes four that they can now study and exhibit. Suffolk described this acquisition as an “extraordinary opportunity for an institution.”
The collection was donated by Doris and Shouky Shaheen, who have lived in Atlanta for more than 50 years. In addition to the High Museum, they have supported other local institutions such as Piedmont Hospital and the Lamar Dodd School of Art at the University of Georgia.
In a statement released by the High, the couple said:
“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.”
The Shaheen’s notable collection began with a work by Fauvist painter Maurice de Vlaminck that they acquired in the ’70s from a local gallery. They continued to add to their collection, buying works from major auction houses. Sotheby’s and Christie’s were hoping to see some of the works from this impressive collection come through their auctions; however, through this donation, the couple’s legacy will continue on in Atlanta. The works will be showcased at the High in a gallery named after the couple later this year.