Herbert (1891-1976) and Nannette (1897-1979) Rothschild collected art with deep personal commitment. They were devoted to the major modernist schools of the early twentieth century, often traveling from New York to France in their search. For the Rothschilds, pursuing art was an adventure of discovery, and living with it was a source of edification and delight. Their collecting activities were inspired and encouraged by their daughter, the abstract painter Judith Rothschild (1921-1993). In the course of collecting, the Rothschilds met many of the artists whose works they acquired, including Natalya Gontcharova, Sonia Delaunay, Constantin Brancusi, Gino Severini, and Fernand Léger.
The collection is fascinating in its rich variety; in addition, important concentrations of works by Juan Gris and Piet Mondrian, with examples from the early careers of both artists, bring great depth to this presentation of early modernism. A personal account of the formation of this distinguished collection is captured in the recollections of Nannette F. Rothschild, which have been published for the first time in the catalogue that accompanies this exhibition: Encounters with Modern Art: The Reminiscences of Nannette F. Rothschild.
National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
Philadelphia Museum of Art
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA)