News: Atlanta couple donates 24 masterpieces to the High Museum

Doris and Shouky Shaheen have donated their entire collection of works by Matisse, Monet, Pissarro, Modigliani, Renoir, and more. The High will establish a special new gallery to show the works.

Featured image: Claude Monet (French, 1840–1926), Maisons au bord de la route, 1885, oil on canvas, 25 x 32 inches. High Museum of Art, Atlanta, Doris and Shouky Shaheen Collection.

Atlanta couple Doris and Shouky Shaheen have donated their entire Impressionist, Post-Impressionist and Modernist painting collection, totaling 24 artworks, to the High Museum of Art. Officials at the High say it is one of the most significant groups of European paintings to ever enter the High’s collection, rivaled only by the Kress Foundation donation that established the core of the High’s European Art holdings in 1958. 

The gift marks the High’s first acquisition of paintings by renowned artists such as Henri Matisse, Amedeo Modigliani and Alfred Sisley.  It also strengthens the High’s holdings of work by Claude Monet, Camille Pissarro and Pierre-Auguste Renoir, among other artists. 

“It’s been a great blessing of our life together to build this collection and live with these incredible works,” said the Shaheens. “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.”

Alfred Sisley (French, 1839–1899), Une rue à Marly, 1876, oil on canvas, 15 x 22 inches. High Museum of Art, Atlanta, Doris and Shouky Shaheen Collection.

Atlanta residents since 1965, the Shaheens began to amass their collection in the early 1970s when they acquired Maurice de Vlaminck’s Banlieue de Paris (ca. 1922) from a local gallery. Over the past 50 years, the collection has grown to include paintings by some of the most recognized artists of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In addition to the first works by Fantin-Latour, Matisse, Modigliani, Sisley, Maurice Utrillo and Vlaminck to enter the High’s collection, the gift includes paintings by Eugène Boudin, Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Claude Monet, Camille Pissarro, Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Édouard Vuillard. The paintings’ subjects range from sweeping landscapes and village scenes to intimate portraits and figure studies.

In recognition of the gift, the High will establish the Doris and Shouky Shaheen Gallery in its Stent Family Wing, where the paintings will be on view starting later this year.

Camille Pissarro (French, 1830–1903) Pièce d’eau à Kew, Londres, 1892, oil on canvas, 18 1/8 x 21 5/8 inches. High Museum of Art, Atlanta, Doris and Shouky Shaheen Collection.

“We are exceptionally grateful for the generosity of this landmark gift,” says High Director Rand Suffolk. “The Shaheens’ contribution single-handedly elevates the quality of our European collection and will greatly enhance the visitor experience.”

The Shaheens have a long history of philanthropic support for organizations across the Southeast and beyond. Their financial donations led to the creation of Piedmont Hospital’s Doris Shaheen Breast Health Center in 2004 and helped the hospital significantly expand its emergency room. As a birthday gift to her husband in 2007, Doris established the Shouky Shaheen Lecture series, which brings nationally and internationally recognized artists and scholars to present lectures at the University of Georgia’s Lamar Dodd School of Art. The Shaheens have contributed to other institutions of higher learning, including the University of Memphis and Birzeit University. In addition to this major gift of artworks, the couple have contributed to the High as members since 1983 and as Friends of the Collection. The Shaheens are the founders of Shaheen & Co., which develops warehouse space throughout the metro area.

Curators at the High Museum describe the highlights of the Doris and Shouky Shaheen Collection as:

–Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot (French, 1796–1875), “La bohemiènne à mandoline assise” (ca. 1860s–1870s)
Though primarily a landscape painter, Corot would dress models for figure paintings, often with items from his personal collection. In this case, he depicts a young girl holding a mandolin.​

–Henri Fantin-Latour (French, 1836–1904), “Grand bouquet de chrysanthèmes” (1882)
This floral still life, the first work by Fantin-Latour to enter the High’s collection, is characteristic of his celebrated style.

–Henri Matisse (French, 1869–1954), “Femme assise devant son piano (Marguerite)” (ca. 1924)
This colorful oil on canvas is a study for a larger painting by Matisse and is one of two works by the artist included in the gift.

–Amedeo Modigliani (Italian, 1884–1920), “Portrait de Beatrice Hastings” (1914)
This early portrait by Modigliani is the High’s first acquisition of the artist’s work.

–Claude Monet (French 1840–1926), “Maison au bord de la route” (1885)
This beautiful landscape is one of three Monet paintings entering the High’s collection.

–Camille Pissarro (French, 1830 – 1903), “Paysanne assise” (1882)
The gift features three works by Pissarro, including two landscapes and this portrait of a peasant woman, a recurring motif in his paintings.

–Alfred Sisley (French, 1839–1899), “Une rue à Marly” (1876)
Of the four Sisley paintings entering the High’s collection, this is an early landscape from the height of the impressionist movement.


Camille Pissarro (French, 1830–1903), Paysanne assise, 1882, oil on canvas, 21 5/8 x 18 1/8 inches. High Museum of Art, Atlanta, Doris and Shouky Shaheen Collection.
Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot (French, 1796–1875), La bohemiènne à mandoline assise, (ca. 1860s–1870s), oil on panel, 25 x 17 inches. High Museum of Art, Atlanta, Doris and Shouky Shaheen Collection.

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