In the early 1970s, Atlanta-based philanthropists Doris and Shouky Shaheen began what would become a decades-long journey of art collecting when they purchased Maurice de Vlaminck’s “Banlieue de Paris” from a local gallery. Over the past 50 years, the couple grew their collection to include dozens of artworks by some of the most recognized artists of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, including the Impressionist masters Claude Monet and Pierre-Auguste Renoir. In August 2019, the couple donated the entirety of this collection to their hometown museum, the High Museum of Art.
The Shaheen gift is one of the most significant groups of European paintings ever to enter the High’s collection, rivaled only by the Samuel H. Kress Foundation donation in 1958, which established the core of the High’s European art holdings. This marks the High’s first acquisition of paintings by renowned artists such as Henri Fantin-Latour, Henri Matisse, Amedeo Modigliani and Alfred Sisley.
“It’s been a great blessing of our life together to build this collection and live with these incredible works,” said the Shaheens. “Given our love for this collection, and our love for this city, we knew the High was the best home for these paintings. We’re thrilled that Atlantans will enjoy them for generations to come.”
This landmark donation reflects the couple’s love for the arts and continues the Shaheen’s support of philanthropic organizations across the Southeast. In 2007, Doris established the Shouky Shaheen Lecture series as a birthday gift to her husband which presents nationally and internationally recognized artists and scholar lectures through the University of Georgia Lamar Dodd School of Art. The Shaheens have also made significant contributions to other institutions of higher learning and Piedmont Hospital, which established the Doris Shaheen Breast Health Center in 2004 through their generosity. In addition to their major gift of artworks, the couple have contributed generously to the High Museum as members since 1983 and as Friends of the Collection.
In recognition of the gift, the High will establish the Doris and Shouky Shaheen Gallery in its Stent Family Wing, where the paintings will be on view starting later this year.
“We are exceptionally grateful for the generosity of this landmark gift,” said Rand Suffolk, Nancy and Holcombe T. Green, Jr., director of the High. “The Shaheen’s contribution singlehandedly elevates the quality of our European collection and will greatly enhance the visitor experience.”
Highlights of the Doris and Shouky Shaheen Collection include:
- Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, “La bohemiènne à mandoline assise” (Seated Woman with Mandolin), (ca. 1860s–1870s)
- Claude Monet (French, 1840–1926), Maisons au bord de la route (Houses Along the Road), 1885
- Camille Pissarro (French, 1830–1903), Paysanne assise (Seated Peasant Woman), 1882
- Camille Pissarro (French, 1830–1903), Pièce d'eau à Kew, Londres (Ornamental Lake at Kew [Gardens], London), 1892
- Alfred Sisley (French, 1839–1899), Une rue à Marly (Street in Marly), 1876