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Shelby's Social Diary

A-list crowd turns out for first look at The Age of Impressionism exhibit

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19 Sharyn Weaver, from left, Leslie Blanton and Lisa Mears at the MFAH Impressionism dinner December 2013
Sharyn Weaver, from left, Leslie Blanton and Lisa Mears at the MFAH Impressionism dinner. Photo by © Jenny Antill
17 Paul and Karol Barnhart, from left, and Anne and Charles Duncan at the MFAH Impressionism dinner December 2013
Paul and Karol Barnhart, from left, and Anne and Charles Duncan at the MFAH Impressionism dinner. Photo by © Jenny Antill
15 Margaret Alkek Williams and Jim Daniel at the MFAH Impressionism dinner December 2013
Margaret Alkek Williams and Jim Daniel at the MFAH Impressionism dinner. Photo by © Jenny Antill
13 Joe and Tina Pyne at the MFAH Impressionism dinner December 2013
Joe and Tina Pyne at the MFAH Impressionism dinner. Photo by © Jenny Antill
16 Marty Goossen, from left, Sharyn Weaver, Kathy Goossen and Jim Weaver at the MFAH Impressionism dinner December 2013
Marty Goossen, from left, Sharyn Weaver, Kathy Goossen and Jim Weaver at the MFAH Impressionism dinner. Photo by © Jenny Antill
5 Butch and Nancy Abendshein, from left, Dale Dorn and Lacey Neuhaus Dorn and Gary Tinterow at the MFAH Impressionism dinner December 2013
Butch and Nancy Abendshein, from left, Dale Dorn and Lacey Neuhaus Dorn and Gary Tinterow at the MFAH Impressionism dinner. Photo by © Jenny Antill
12 Herman and Aliyya Stude at the MFAH Impressionism dinner December 2013
Herman and Aliyya Stude at the MFAH Impressionism dinner. Photo by © Jenny Antill
14 Karol Barnhart, from left, Laurie Morian and Judy Tate at the MFAH Impressionism dinner December 2013
Karol Barnhart, from left, Laurie Morian and Judy Tate at the MFAH Impressionism dinner. Photo by © Jenny Antill
1 Albert and Anne Chao at the MFAH Impressionism dinner December 2013
Albert and Anne Chao at the MFAH Impressionism dinner. Photo by © Jenny Antill
6 Carol and Mike Linn at the MFAH Impressionism dinner December 2013
Carol and Mike Linn at the MFAH Impressionism dinner. Photo by © Jenny Antill
3 Bill and Sara Morgan at the MFAH Impressionism dinner December 2013
Bill and Sara Morgan at the MFAH Impressionism dinner. Photo by © Jenny Antill
4 Brad and Leslie Bucher at the MFAH Impressionism dinner December 2013
Brad and Leslie Bucher at the MFAH Impressionism dinner. Photo by © Jenny Antill
2 Ana Buckman and Andrew Abendshein at the MFAH Impressionism dinner December 2013
Ana Buckman and Andrew Abendshein at the MFAH Impressionism dinner. Photo by © Jenny Antill
8 Durga and Sushila Agrawal at the MFAH Impressionism dinner December 2013
Durga and Sushila Agrawal at the MFAH Impressionism dinner. Photo by © Jenny Antill
19 Sharyn Weaver, from left, Leslie Blanton and Lisa Mears at the MFAH Impressionism dinner December 2013
17 Paul and Karol Barnhart, from left, and Anne and Charles Duncan at the MFAH Impressionism dinner December 2013
15 Margaret Alkek Williams and Jim Daniel at the MFAH Impressionism dinner December 2013
13 Joe and Tina Pyne at the MFAH Impressionism dinner December 2013
16 Marty Goossen, from left, Sharyn Weaver, Kathy Goossen and Jim Weaver at the MFAH Impressionism dinner December 2013
5 Butch and Nancy Abendshein, from left, Dale Dorn and Lacey Neuhaus Dorn and Gary Tinterow at the MFAH Impressionism dinner December 2013
12 Herman and Aliyya Stude at the MFAH Impressionism dinner December 2013
14 Karol Barnhart, from left, Laurie Morian and Judy Tate at the MFAH Impressionism dinner December 2013
1 Albert and Anne Chao at the MFAH Impressionism dinner December 2013
6 Carol and Mike Linn at the MFAH Impressionism dinner December 2013
3 Bill and Sara Morgan at the MFAH Impressionism dinner December 2013
4 Brad and Leslie Bucher at the MFAH Impressionism dinner December 2013
2 Ana Buckman and Andrew Abendshein at the MFAH Impressionism dinner December 2013
8 Durga and Sushila Agrawal at the MFAH Impressionism dinner December 2013

Typically, donor dinners offering a preview of new exhibitions at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston are attended by 100 or so with special interests in the works on display. But it was a gathering more than half again as large that turned out for the dinner previewing The Age of Impressionism and many of those, so entranced with the 73 paintings, vowed to return for a longer look.

The exhibition, which includes works by Claude Monet, Camille Pissaro, Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Edgar Degas, from the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Mass., runs through March 23. The evening's consensus — it is not to be missed. More than one museum patron as well as institute director Michael Conforti commented how stunning the paintings are as displayed in the Audrey Beck Jones Building.

Hats off to MFAH director Gary Tinterow, who told the gathering that he had jumped at the chance to have the exhibition when he ran into Conforti last June at the Venice Biennale. Conforti remarked that there was a final slot open on the exhibition's international tour and Tinterow immediately booked it for Houston. 

Complementing the French theme of the paintings, City Kitchen served a decidedly French menu including coq au vin and apple tarte tatin.

The invitation-only evening drew an impressive gathering that equaled in import the exhibition starting with MFAH board chairman Rich Kinder and Nancy Kinder and including exhibition funders Lisa and Downing Mears and Thomas Brown of the Hamill Foundation, lead foundation underwriter of the exhibition, plus Anne and Albert Chao, Anne and Charles Duncan, Carol and Mike Linn, Kathy and Marty Goossen, Sara and Bill Morgan, Cyvia and Melvyn Wolff, Laurie and Reed Morian, Bobbie and John Nau, Nancy and Butch Abendshein and Karol and Paul Barnhart. 

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