Cheekwood gifted two impressionist paintings from the collections of Marlene and the late Spencer Hays and Frank Hudley

Works by American Impressionists Strengthen Cheekwood’s Permanent Collection.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Cheekwood recently was gifted two works by American impressionist artists Theodore Robinson and Richard E. Miller from the collections of Marlene and Spencer Hays and Frank Hundley. The pieces will be unveiled to the public during the fall installation of Selections from The Cheekwood Collection, which will be on view from October 5, 2019 – January 5, 2020.

The acquisitions serve as significant additions to the Cheekwood Permanent Collection and strengthen the museum’s holdings of American Impressionism. Robinson’s Reverie, gifted by Marlene Hays, will be placed in the Cheek Library, across from Gerald Leslie Brockhurst’s portrait of Huldah Cheek Sharp. Miller’s La Crinoline, gifted by Frank Hundley will be on view in Leslie Cheek Jr.’s Study on the second level of the historic Cheekwood Mansion.

“We are delighted to accession these gifts of art into Cheekwood’s Permanent Collection and are very grateful to local collectors Marlene Hays and Frank Hundley for choosing Cheekwood to care for, preserve and present these works,” said Jane MacLeod, president and CEO of Cheekwood. “As Nashville’s largest actively collecting museum, this acquisition enhances our significant holdings of American Impressionism, and we look forward to sharing the stunning works of art with our visitors.”

Marlene Hays commented, “When we bought the Theodore Robinson painting in the early 90’s, it was a wonderful addition to our art. As we continued to build our collection, we moved toward the works of French artists. Throughout that transition, the Robinson remained in our collection. Now, I am pleased to gift it to Cheekwood, a special place for me and art lovers across the Southeast. It is a perfect fit for the collection of American art of this period the leaders at Cheekwood are building.”

Theodore Robinson (American, 1854 – 1896) was among American painters who began to visit Giverny on the Seine River in the late 1880s and early 1890s, where Claude Monet had settled in 1883. Robinson learned and translated Monet’s techniques into a way that Americans would understand at the time. In 1886, Robinson painted Reverie (Young Woman with Violin and Rose). The work portrays a young woman holding a violin. At the time, the playing of a violin was an indecent activity for women. Though, Robinson paints the woman as confronting the viewer, unafraid of her choice to play. Her success as a violinist is indicated by the rose at the foot of her chair, assumedly thrown by a spectator.

Richard E. Miller (American, 1875 – 1943) also worked at Giverny during his stint in France from 1898 to 1901. Miller was known for painting contemplative maidens in fields, using impressionistic color palettes. Around 1904, Miller painted La Crinoline, an intimate portrait capturing a fleeting moment. The woman regards her reflection in the mirror as much of the canvas is taken up by her large crinoline skirt.

Cheekwood’s art collection began in 1958 and includes paintings, prints, drawings, photographs, sculpture and decorative arts. Today, The Cheekwood Collection is comprised of over 7,000 pieces, with an emphasis on American Art produced between 1910 and 1970. Artists represented include David Hockney, Georgia O’Keeffe, Robert Rauschenberg, Louise Dahl-Wolfe, Red Grooms, William Edmondson, Andy Warhol, and Jamie Wyeth.

Theodore Robinson, Reverie (Young Woman with Violin and Rose), 1886. Oil on canvas. Collection of Marlene and Spencer Hays. 2019.03.

Richard Miller, La Crinoline, c. 1904. Oil on canvas. Gift of Frank Hundley. 2019.04.

For more information about Cheekwood’s art exhibits, visit

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About Cheekwood

Cheekwood is considered one of the finest American Country Place Era estates in the nation. Formerly the family home of Mabel and Leslie Cheek, the extraordinary 1930s estate, with its Georgian mansion and 55 acres of cultivated gardens and expansive vistas, today serves the public as a botanical garden, arboretum, and museum with historic rooms and art galleries, showcasing works from its 7,000 permanent collection as well as traveling exhibitions. The property includes 12 distinct gardens and a mile-long woodland trail featuring modern and contemporary outdoor sculpture. 

Cheekwood is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, and is a USA Today Top 10 Botanical Garden. Cheekwood is located just 8 miles southwest of downtown Nashville at 1200 Forrest Park Drive. Daily hours of operation: Tuesday through Sunday 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. For further information, call 615-356-8000 or visit

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