Through a combination of gift and purchase, the Dixon Gallery and Gardens acquired 23 paintings from the collection of Mr. Montgomery H.W. Ritchie of Palo Duro, Texas in 1996. The Ritchie Collection contains 19th and early 20th century art and includes works by many major artists, including Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Edgar Degas, Paul Cezanne, Georges Seurat, Raoul Dufy, and Chaim Soutine. These outstanding selections expand and enhance the existing works in the Dixon’s permanent collection. The collection affords visitors an invaluable perspective and broader look at Impressionism, the Impressionist movement as displayed by its strongest practitioners on both side of the Atlantic, and the rich and varied paths taken by Post-Impressionists and early modern artists at the turn of the century.
Among the highlights of the collection are two works by Claude Monet, Village Street (1869-1871) and Port of Dieppe, Evening (1882). A landscape by Paul Cezanne, Trees and Rocks Near the Chateau Noir (1900-1906), two paintings by Pierre Auguste Renoir, and an open window scene by Raoul Dufy (that recalls Matisse’s canonical Open Window, Collioure) are also notable. The collection also includes works by Americans John Singer Sargent and Maurice Prendergast.
There are many striking resemblances between Ritchie’s collection and that of Hugo & Margaret Dixon. Both Ritchie and Dixon were Englishmen who came to reside in the American South, and both men collected English art – perhaps as a tribute to their native land. They also shared an interest in 19th and early 20th century art as evidenced by the many artists common to both collections: Corot, Boudin, Degas, Jongkind, Fantin-Latour, Bonnard, Gauguin, Marquet, and Chagall. The majority of works in both collections are small or medium in size, well suited for the domestic settings for which they were purchased. The Ritchie Collection adds to the Dixon’s existing strength in Impressionist art while adding depth to its Post-Impressionist, early modern, and American holdings.