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UM News
October 31, 2013

MISSOULA – University of Montana art history and criticism Professor H. Rafael Chacon will present a talk titled “The Centrality of the Figure in Early Modern Art” at 7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 4, in the Masquer Theatre of the Performing Arts and Radio/Television Center at UM.

Chacon’s talk is offered in support of exhibitions by major 19th- and early 20th-century artists organized by the Montana Museum of Art & Culture titled “Figurative Modernists: Picasso, Chagall and other Masterpieces from a Private Collection” and “Modernist Prints.”

“Rather than disappearing into the void of abstraction, the human figure continued to express humanity's deepest questions and remained a fertile arena for artists exploring a range of modernist preoccupations that often transcended formal concerns,” Chacon said.

The exhibitions continue in the Meloy and Paxson galleries in the PAR/TV Center through Feb. 8, 2014.

“Figurative Modernists: Picasso, Chagall and other Masterpieces from a Private Collection” focuses on the soul-stirring power of the figure. Included are works by Jean Arp, Maria Blanchard, Marc Chagall, Giorgio De Chirico, Sonia Delaunay, Leon De Smet, Barbara Hepworth, Fernand Leger, Andre Masson, Jean Metzinger, Pablo Picasso and Georges Rouault. The exhibition examines Modernism as an interdisciplinary endeavor that links music, dance, opera, the visual arts and literature.

“We bring art of this caliber to UM for students, Montanans and visitors. It’s an incredible opportunity to experience world-class art,” said Barbara Koostra, director of MMAC.

“Modernist Prints” illustrates the intersection of the visual and literary arts. The exhibition combines selections from the MMAC Permanent Collection with select loans to highlight rare etchings and lithographs by Chagall, Le Corbusier, Aristide Maillol, Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Rouault and Jean Signovert, among others. Many of the selections are by Modernist artists who worked with famous publishers and authors such as Ambrose Vollard, Fernand Moulot and Henry Kahnweiler, to create original artworks for literary publications.

Upcoming lectures and exhibition tours include:

  • Montana Museum of Art & Culture in collaboration with the President’s Lecture Series presents Stephanie D’Alessandro, the Gary C. and Frances Comer Curator of Modern Art at the Art Institute of Chicago, on Picasso, Matisse and the 1913 Armory Show in Chicago, at 8 p.m. Monday, Nov. 18, in the University Center Ballroom.
  • H. Rafael Chacon, UM professor of art History and criticism, will offer a tour of the Meloy Gallery at 5:10 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 3.
  • Brandon Reintjes, MMAC curator of art, will offer a tour of the Meloy and Paxson galleries at 12:10 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 21.

Participation for each tour is limited to 28 people. RSVP by calling 406-243-2019.

MMAC hours during the academic year are from noon to 3 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday; and from noon to 6 p.m. Thursday and Friday. There is a $5 suggested donation.

For more information, call MMAC at 406-243-2019 or visit the museum’s website at


Note to media: Digital images are available. Call Shawn Whitworth at 406-243-2019 or e-mail




Contact: Brandon Reintjes, curator of art, Montana Museum of Art & Culture, 406-243-2019,