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Treasures of British Art 1400-2000: The Berger Collection features the most significant private collection of British art in the United States. Spanning six centuries, this exhibition presents 50 masterpieces from this collection in a variety of subjects, styles, and eras. The Berger Collection is rivaled only by the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Yale Center for British Art in its holdings of British artworks from the 1500s and early 1600s. It’s truly one of the most unique private collections in the world.
From a religious panel of the 14th century and royal portraits of the 16th century to abstract landscapes of the 20th century, the exhibition features 50 highlights of the Berger Collection, including works by Hans Holbein the Younger (1497/8–1543), Sir Anthony van Dyck (1599–1641), Joseph Wright of Derby (1734–1797), Sir Thomas Lawrence (1769–1830), Thomas Gainsborough (1727–1788), John Constable (1776–1837), George Stubbs (1856–1925), and Sir Howard Hodgkin (b. 1932).
In this episode, To Be Fired By The King, we get the backstory on Benjamin West's The Ascension. Karen Sherry, Curator of American Art and Director of Collections, gives the inside scoop on how changes in painting style (and George III's sanity) led to West’s commission being cancelled after 20 years of work.