Bartlett, Frederic Clay(American, 1873-1953)
The son of a millionaire manufacturer, Frederic Clay Bartlett rejected a life of leisure and embarked on the uncertain career path of an artist. Although he found some personal fame and success as a painter, he is better known today for the remarkable collection of Post-Impressionist paintings he gave to The Art Institute of Chicago in 1926 in memory of his second wife and collecting companion Helen Birch Bartlett.
Bartlett's tastes were eclectic until the 1920s when he married Helen, a young poet and composer who encouraged him to turn his attention to the works of avant-garde, mainly French, artists. Though few in number, the paintings Helen and Frederic collected soon constituted one of the most adventurous and radical collections assembled in America. The group of paintings given to the Art Institute included a number of key works, some purchased under the advice of the museum's curatorial staff. Most notable among these was Georges Seurat’s A Sunday on La Grande Jatte—1884. Other masterpieces included Vincent van Gogh’s The Bedroom, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec’s At the Moulin Rouge, and Cézanne’s Basket of Apples.
During the late 1920s, the collection was a revelation to not only Chicago, but also the world. Articles about it appeared in the newspapers, and visitors made the Bartlett gallery a regular stop on their tours of Chicago.
Works Cited:
"Helen Birch Bartlett Memorial Collection." The Art Institute of Chicago: Art Access. Accessed on: Thurs. 8 Oct. 2009.

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