European Art Society

The European Art Society was established in 2001 to further awareness and appreciation of thirteenth-century to early twentieth-century painting, sculpture, and works on paper. The group is devoted to the continued growth and development of the Museum’s collection, and to educating its members about European art in general, and the Museum’s collection specifically. Regular European Art Society events include the annual dinner, when members vote for an acquisition for the permanent collection; sneak previews and curator-led tours of all European art exhibitions and gallery reinstallations; enlightening connoisseurship sessions with leading experts; lunchtime lectures; and domestic and international travel opportunities.

$500 per member
$250 per junior member (under 40)

Join Now

European Art Society // UPCOMING EVENTS

* Individual event invitations will be sent to members. Questions? Contact Bethany McClellan at or 205-254-2567.

Art & Celebrity Event
Wednesday, May 17
6pm // BMA Steiner Auditorium

The Birmingham Museum of Art invites you to a special evening celebrating Heather McPherson’s new book, Art and Celebrity in the Age of Reynolds and Siddons (Penn State University Press, 2017). The book transports you to late eighteenth-century London where modern celebrity culture emerged, from artists’ studios, to the Royal Academy exhibitions, to the stages of Drury Lane and Covent Garden.

UAB Professor of Art History, Heather McPherson, Ph.D., will give a special lecture in the Museum’s Steiner Auditorium followed by a book signing and reception.

Paintings Preview Party
Thursday, May 25
5:30-7pm // BMA
Join us for a behind-the-scenes event as we welcome back three freshly conserved paintings from the Minneapolis Art Conservation Center.

BMA on the Road
June 2-4
Together we will re-visit two BMA paintings
on view at the National Gallery

EAS and Collectors Circle go to Germany
June 30-July 9

The Dutch Gallery Reinstallation Opening Reception – September 7

EAS trip to Dallas and Fort Worth, Texas with the Friends of American Art – October 19-22


Recent Events

Lunch and Learn: “New Names for Old Friends”
Wednesday, February 15
12-1pm // BMA Members Room
Curator of European Art, Dr. Robert Schindler, will share new research on a number of portraits in our French 18th-century paintings collection. They are not who we thought they were!

European Art Society Annual Dinner – March 28

003BMA_EuropeanArtDinner[1] 011BMA_EuropeanArtDinner[1] 016BMA_EuropeanArtDinner[1] 049BMA_EuropeanArtDinner[1] 024BMA_EuropeanArtDinner[1] 025BMA_EuropeanArtDinner[1] 040BMA_EuropeanArtDinner[1] 042BMA_EuropeanArtDinner[1] 045BMA_EuropeanArtDinner[1] 004BMA_EuropeanArtDinner[1] 023BMA_EuropeanArtDinner[1]

Lunch and Learn: TEFAF Review
Wednesday, April 19
12-1pm // BMA Members Room
Join Robert as he brings back impressions from the most recent edition of the European Fine Art Fair [TEFAF] in Maastricht.

Lunch and Learn
Wednesday, September 28, 2016
12-1pm // BMA Preparation Department
Join us for an exclusive tour of the Museum’s preparation department with Head Preparator, Priscilla Tapio, followed by lunch at Oscar’s cafe.

October 21-23, 2016

Welcome back, François-Hubert Drouais!
Thursday, November 16, 2016
5:30 pm
Help us welcome back our two newly conserved portraits by François-Hubert Drouais. Curator of European Art, Dr. Robert Schindler will share new research on the paintings, which are scheduled to travel to Washington, D.C. for an exhibition at the National Gallery in 2017. Private reception to follow in the Members Room, and stick around to attend this year’s Chenoweth Lecture, given by our own Executive Director, Gail Andrews.

Lunch and Learn: what to buy and what not to buy
Wednesday, November 30, 2016
12-1pm // BMA Members room
Join us when we review the offerings at the upcoming Old Master paintings auctions.

Express Tour and Holiday Dinner
Thursday, December 15, 2016
6pm // BMA
Robert will lead a private tour of the Dutch and Flemish paintings galleries, discussing the needs of the collection, and plans for the reinstallation in 2017. If you like, following the tour, join us for dinner.


Lunch and Learn
Wednesday, April 20
BMA Library

We will explore a late medieval, illustrated prayer book in the BMA’s collection. Together, we will leaf through the pages of this important example of late medieval piety!

We will then have lunch in Oscar’s Café.

Please RSVP to Bethany McClellan at or 205-254-2567.

EAS trip to Minneapolis with the Collectors Circle for Contemporary Art
June 2-5, 2016

By EAS member Dottie Drake

dscf2123 dscf2125 dscf2129 dscf2144 dscf2161 dscf2145 dscf2172 dscf2180 dscf2186 dscf2203 dscf2208 dscf2226 dscf2230 dscf2251 dscf2257 dscf2282 dscf2290 dscf2301 dscf2325


Our enthusiastic group of fifteen led by curators Wassan Al-Khudhairi and Robert Schindler began this excursion on Thursday evening with cocktails and a very impressive dinner at Marin Restaurant and Bar in our hotel with its northern California-inspired cuisine.

We then began Friday morning by visiting the Minneapolis Institute of Art (Mia) with its extraordinary exhibitions and one of the finest wide-ranging art collections in the country. To begin we toured Old Master paintings with Patrick Noon, Mia’s Paintings Department head, and after lunch we saw the Myron Kunin collection of American Modernism. The artworks span artistic styles of the early 20th century and include nudes, circus performers, social themes, landscapes, portraits and more.

Also housed within Mia is the Midwest Art Conservation Center. Its staff of conservators has renowned expertise in the cleaning, repair and restoration of works of art and historic artifacts using the most current standards, materials and techniques. Of particular interest to our group was BMA’s own Portrait of the van der Graeff Family by Jan Mijtens, 1654, which is being treated there.

Our final destination on Friday afternoon was the Thrivent Art Collection which focuses on original works on paper of religious subject matter. Comprised of eight centuries of art reflecting the Western Christian religious tradition, the collection presents an impressive range of the world’s greatest artists from Durer to Rembrandt to Picasso. Housed within the bank itself, the collection is part of Thrivent’s heritage and commitment to supporting the arts, culture, education and the community.

Saturday morning started off with a tour of the Walker Art Center which focuses on the visual, performing and media arts of our time taking a global, multidisciplinary and diverse approach to all aspects of art. Members of the curatorial staff led us through exhibitions by Hong Kong native Lee Kit. Currently based in Taiwan, Kit often imparts political commentary in his work using everyday materials which he transforms through subtle gestures of painting, drawing and placement.

Also at the Walker was Less Than One, an exhibition by an international, multigenerational group showing works from the 1960’s to the present. The exhibition surveys a range of approaches—from painting and sculpture to drawing, installation, moving image, performance and photography. Less Than One includes pieces by Erica Beckman, Renee Green, Jasper Johns, Adrian Piper, and Sigmar Polke among others.

Later the same afternoon we visited the Weisman Art Museum housed in a striking stainless steel and brick building clearly recognizable as being designed by architect Frank Gehry. A teaching museum for the University of Minnesota, the Weisman features early 20th -century American artists such as Georgia O’Keeffe and Marsden Hartley as well as a diverse selection of ceramics and contemporary art.

Our final excursion of the day provided a real treat as we visited the studios of Caroline Kent, MFA and Nate Young, MFA. Kent, a practicing visual artist, is the recipient of several grants, a participant in numerous exhibitions throughout the U.S. and also co-founder with Young of The Bindery Projects, an artist-run exhibition space. Currently she is a professor at Saint Paul College and teaches at Juxtaposition Arts, a youth-centered non-profit. Young creates works that engage with issues of race and radicalization in a manner that challenges traditional modes of artistic production. Some of his recent group exhibitions were at the California African American Museum, Los Angeles, CA, the Studio Museum of Harlem, New York, and the Anderson Gallery Drake University, Des Moines, IA.

Sunday morning began with a splendid brunch at Spoon and Stable, a restaurant located on the Mississippi River. Once a horse stable, it offers the creative cuisine of James Beard award-winning chef/owner Gavin Kaysen who creates his presentations around the seasonality of the Midwest.

After brunch we concluded the trip with Mill City Museum also located on the river. Built into the ruins of what was once the largest flour mill in the world, its collection focuses on the intertwined histories of the flour industry, the river and the city of Minneapolis.

The European Art Society’s Annual International Trip: March 9-17, 2016

By EAS member and Master Docent, Dr. Emily Omura

1 3 4 5 EAS in Maastricht! 7 8 9 15 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 26 27 28 30 31 32 33 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60

Twelve members of the EAS, led by curator Robert Schindler and local tour director Elizabeth Deans, enjoyed “A Connoisseur’s European Art Immersion” in March, staying 4 nights in Aachen, Germany, and 3 in Amsterdam, with visits also to museums, cathedrals, and collections in Cologne and The Hague. After landing at the Amsterdam airport and easily meeting Elizabeth, we embarked in our own coach bus for Aachen, with our first art stop on the way, to have lunch and to explore the Het Loo Palace, a very interesting 300 year old Dutch royal residence recently restored and open to the public. Then it was on to get settled in our 4-star hotel in Aachen and enjoy a welcome dinner at the nearby Restaurant Gare du Nord.

The next morning we were off to Maastricht, the Netherlands, with an initial private curatorial visit at the Bonnefanten Museum, which is architecturally significant and also has an excellent mostly contemporary art collection. Then the main reason for the entire trip: TEFAF (The European Fine Art Fair) at the Congress Center in Maastricht, which had opened the night before our arrival, and what an amazing “happening” it was! It felt like an enormous maze-like art museum, with over 200 exhibitors/dealers showing their finest art for sale, including many old master paintings, and over 70,000 visitors attending. Not to get completely lost, Robert had arranged an hour’s guided tour of the fair, plus, armed with a detailed map showing the location and numbers of all of the booths, he had arranged for us to visit 4 booths at designated times between 2 and 6PM, where the dealers showed us their best works. (In between there was great  wandering!) One dealer remembered the Weldons from Birmingham.

The next day began with a walking tour of Aachen’s historic center and the Aachen Cathedral, with a visit to the Suermondt-Ludwig Museum and a tour, by the museum director, of a large special exhibit of the Dutch 17th century still life painter, Balthasar van der Ast. (We, of course, have a wonderful van der Ast still life in our Dutch gallery.) We returned to TEFAF in the afternoon (fortunately, as we certainly had not seen all of the fair the previous day!), and then on our way back our bus driver recommended that we go up a small mountain where one can stand on a point of convergence of 3 countries!! (Germany, the Netherlands, and Belgium.) It was after dark, so the view from the mountain was not visible, but pictures were taken of the occasion! Dinner in a restaurant on the ride back down was enjoyed by all.

The next day was Sunday, and a short ride on our bus took us to Cologne and its absolutely magnificent soaring gothic cathedral (that I had not seen for over 50 years). Also included in the day’s outing were visits to 2 museums: the Wallraf-Richartz Museum, with a vast painting collection (Durer, Rubens, Renoir, etc.) and wonderful pre-Renaissance altarpieces, and the contemporary Museum Ludwig with one of the largest Pop Art collections in the world and with works from the ’30s and ’40s which were forbidden in Germany in their time.

On Monday we left the hotel in Aachen to travel by coach to Amsterdam, arriving in time for lunch and then an in-depth guided visit through the marvelous Van Gogh Museum, followed by a tour of an old 18th century canal house once lived in by the painter Ferdinand Bol. (We have a portrait by Bol in our Dutch gallery.) Dinner afterwards was on our own, but Robert had obtained a good recommendation from the hotel for a nearby restaurant which several of us enjoyed.

The next day was the greatly-anticipated visit to The Hague, about an hour away, for the  Mauritshaus Museum where lives the Girl with the Pearl Earring by Vermeer, Rembrandt’s “Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Culp”, and “The Goldfinch” by Fabritius, among many other works. Later, after lunch, was a visit to the Mesdag Collection of Barbizon 19th century paintings assembled by a Dutch painter and his wife. Back at the hotel the evening was again free, and again Robert located a charming nearby pub/restaurant for a fun supper with local patrons — and Robert’s nice brother joined us!

The next and last full day began with a visit to the incredible Six Collection, a private nearly 400 year old art collection, still in a private home with very limited access to the public, and still in the family, passed down through multiple generations of people, all named Jan Six after the original collector (whose portrait, by Rembrandt, is there and is considered one of Rembrandt’s best portraits!). We felt really privileged to see this collection — thank you, Robert! That visit was then followed by the rest of the day, and lunch, in the huge Rijksmuseum, with an excellent guided tour, by an art historian, of highlights (Rembrandt, Hals, Vermeer, etc.). Finally there was a visit to Rembrandt’s home and studio (with some tools, paint-mixing items, etc., on display that he actually used!), followed by our farewell dinner on a boat, quietly cruising Amsterdam’s canals and under its lighted bridges on a lovely cool evening. Perfection!

EAS Annual Dinner
March 29, 2016

First Thursday Express Tour
Thursday, February 4, 2016
BMA European Galleries and Members Room

Join EAS members for a private viewing of the newly reframed Jacob van Ruisdael painting Winter Landscape. After, we will meet in the Members Room for lights snacks and drinks.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016
EAS day trip the High Museum of Art

Travel with EAS members to see the High Museum’s special exhibition Habsburg Splendor: Masterpieces from Vienna’s Imperial Collection before it closes!

Visiting Habsburg Splendor is a not to be missed opportunity to see an outstanding selection of paintings, sculptures, decorative arts, antiquities, costumes, and arms and armor from the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna, Austria. Masterpieces by Giorgione, Titian, Correggio, Tintoretto, Caravaggio, and more are on view, and have never been exhibited in North America.

The group will depart at 8:30AM for the High Museum, have lunch in the Museum’s cafe, Table 1280, and enjoy a guided tour of Habsburg Splendor.  We will spend time in the permanent collection before returning to Birmingham. Expected arrival: 5:00 p.m.

To sign up, please contact Bethany McClellan at or 205.254.2567.

Lunch and Learn
December 2, 2015
12:00 PM– 1:ooPM
Members’ Room

“What to Buy and What Not to Buy”

This Fall’s Old Master Sales in London. Members Room, Noon-1 PM.

Evening Reception
October 6, 2015
6:00 PM – 8:00 PM
BMA, 8th Ave Lobby

Please join us for an evening Reception with Christopher Apostle, Senior Vice President, Head of Department, Old Master Paintings, Sotheby’s New York, who will talk with us about the current state of the Old Master paintings market and some of the exciting stories and works he has encountered during his many years in the business.

Lunch and Learn
July 1, 2015
12:00 PM– 1:ooPM
Members’ Room

Following the successful first Lunch & Learn reviewing upcoming Old Master auctions we will repeat the event turning our attention to auctions at Sotheby’s and Christie’s in London: “What to buy and what not to buy”.

Special Lecture with Paper Conservator
June 17, 2015
12:00 PM
Birmingham Museum of Art Members Room

SieglerThe BMA welcomes Dr. Sheila Siegler, DIC, FIIC, MAIC, who is currently a freelance paper conservator, lecturer, and science consultant. This is an event for members of BMA support groups only.

In her talk, Dr. Siegler will discuss what paper is and how it’s made; what deteriorates paper (light, humidity, insects, humans, and more); how to stop deterioration; and how to care for your collection at home, especially photographs.

Attendees are also encouraged to bring 1-2 works on paper from your personal collections. Dr. Siegler will comment on the condition of your works, as well as recommend treatments. Lunch will not be served at the event; however, we encourage you to meet your friends before or after the event for lunch in Oscar’s Café.

First Thursday Express Tour
June 4, 2015
5:30 PM

Please join the European Art Society for the Express Tour: Paintings in Peril: Conserving the Collection. The Tour will be followed by a private reception with wine and cheese for EAS members. The event will take place during First Thursday. Please meet in the 8th Ave lobby.

b2as9o9l io5u30nf 7zcbezc5 jv6r4y5p ttx17b7v 8w6eg8fj zq2r6je4 a91mn4n6 wx5z72yv Picture6 Picture5 Picture4 Picture3 Picture2 Picture1

At the 12th annual dinner of the European Art Society, members voted that EAS funds should be used towards the conservation of two paintings in the museum’s collection and additional funds were pledged by members to pay for the treatment of another three paintings. Thank you, EAS members, for your outstanding and most generous contribution to this initiative!

On Tuesday, May 12 the European Art Society held its 12th annual dinner. Over the years important acquisitions have been made for the Department of European Art with funds provided by the European Art Society. The focus of this year’s dinner, however, was a paintings conservation initiative that reflects the believe that taking care of the outstanding collection that the Birmingham Museum of Art already has is just as important as new acquisitions that enhance our collection. Curator of European Art, Robert Schindler, selected six paintings in need of treatment and asked members in attendance to vote for two they thought should be conserved with funds provided by the EAS. The two paintings selected by the Society are Camille Pissarro’s The village of Éragny and Saint Mark the Evangelist, attributed to Jan Lievens. In addition, individual members stepped forward and offered very generously to fund the conservation of paintings not selected at the night of the event. Through their generosity, five out of the six paintings presented will receive their much deserved and much needed conservation! And we are still raising funds towards the last remaining painting, Jan Mijtens Portrait of the van der Graeff family, so that no painting gets left behind!

If you would like to contribute to this effort, please contact Bethany McClellan at 205.254.2567.

 Trip to the Huntsville Museum of Art
April 15, 2015
9:00 AM – 4:20 PM

Rescheduled Trip to the Huntsville Museum of Art for the exhibition “Rembrandt, Rubens, Gainsborough and the Golden Age of Painting in Europe” (originally scheduled for Feb. 25, but canceled for inclement weather). Leave from the BMA on a coach bus at 9 AM and return at 4:00 PM.

European Art Society Private Tour with Arthur Wheelock, Ph.D.
April 18, 2015
5:00 PM

Please meet outside Small Treasures  

Dr. Wheelock, Curator of Northern Baroque Painting at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. is a leading scholar on the work of Johannes Vermeer. Join Dr. Wheelock as he talks about the star of Small Treasures, Vermeer’s Girl with the Red Hat, and other works in the exhibition.

Annual Chenoweth Lecture: Arthur Wheelock, Ph.D.
April 18, 2015

6:00 PM
Steiner Auditorium

Personal Encounters with Small Treasures, Arthur Wheelock, Ph.D., Curator of Northern Baroque Painting, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

Private Tour of Small Treasures with Dr. Dennis Weller
April 2, 2015
5:30 PM 

Join Dr. Dennis Weller, Curator of Northern European Art at the North Carolina Museum of Art and organizing curator of the BMA’s current special exhibition for a private tour of Small Treasures, followed by his public lecture.

Private Tour of Small Treasures 
January 29, 2014
5:30 PM

EAS exclusive tour for the opening of the special exhibition “Small Treasures:  Rembrandt, Vermeer,Hals, and Their Contemporaries” at the BMA

Tour and Reception
December 4, 2014
6:00 PM
Birmingham Museum of Art 8th Avenue Lobby

First Thursday Express Tour for EAS members only

New on display: Charles Vignon’s Adoration of the Magi

Lunch & Learn
November 25, 2014
12:00 PM
Birmingham Museum of Art Members Room

Lunch & Learn: Preview of the Fall Old Master auctions at Sotheby’s and Christie’s: What to buy and what not to buy

Day Trip to The High Museum in Atlanta for private tours of two special exhibitions
November 22, 2014

  • “Make A Joyful Noise”: Renaissance Art and Music at Florence Cathedral.
  • Cézanne and the Modern: Masterpieces of European Art from the Pearlman Collection.

Weekend Trip to Detroit and Toledo
October 10-12, 2014

The European Art Society organized a weekend-trip to the Motor City, Detroit. Curators at the Detroit Institute of Arts spent a day showing EAS around their magnificent collection. That evening we dined at the Detroit Athletic Club and also explored the club’s own art collection. We had a chance to see the new expansion of the Michigan University Museum of Art and the truly outstanding collection of European paintings at the Toledo Museum of Art, expertly guided by curators from both institutions. On the last day, we visited the private home, now museum, of Edsel and Eleanor Ford (see photo), saw two private collections (one featuring Wedgwood and, yes, Lover’s Eyes!), and made a last stop at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, which is at the heart of Detroit’s thriving creative scene.

Lecture: The Detroit Institute of Arts- Past, Present, and Future
September 12, 2014
6:00 PM
Birmingham Museum of Art Steiner Auditorium

Dr. Salvador Salort-Pons, Executive Director, Collection Strategies and Information, Detroit Institute of Arts, gave a public lecture (co-sponsored by the EAS): The Detroit Institute of Arts – Past, Present, and Future