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Last Updated: Saturday, 16 February 2008, 10:53 GMT
Monet works on display at gallery
San Giorgio Maggiore by Twilight by Claude Monet (picture: National Museum)
Monet's San Giorgio Maggiore by Twilight is on loan to the gallery
Paintings by Monet and Pissarro have gone on display at a gallery in Powys as part of an exhibition about two art-collecting sisters.

Oriel Davies Gallery in Newtown is also displaying work by CÚzanne and Degas, which belonged to Gwendoline and Margaret Davies.

The gallery has also commissioned new paintings about a trip the Davies sisters made to Italy in 1909.

Their collection of more than 250 works was left to the National Museum Wales.

Oriel Davies Gallery was built with money left by the sisters and named after them, and it is the first time it has displayed work by Claude Monet, Camille Pissarro, Paul CÚzanne, Edgar Degas and Berthe Morisot.

Their work is on loan from the museum until 12 April.

Dressed Dancer in bronze by Edgar Degas (picture: National Museum)
Edgar Degas' Dressed Dancer in bronze is on display

Oriel Davies Gallery director Amanda Farr said the exhibition focused upon the sisters' "extraordinary" collection, which was bequeathed to the National Museum Wales in 1951 and 1963.

Meanwhile, 11 new works by London-born Simon Grennan and his American born collaborator Christopher Sperandio have been commissioned by the gallery.

The paintings are inspired by a visit the sisters made to Italy's Renaissance cities of Pisa, Florence, Siena, Perugia, Bologna and Venice in 1909.

The artists were given access to the Davies family archives to find out more about the trip.

Grennan and Sperandio researched the travel journals kept by the Davies sisters during their Italian tour.

Coal magnate

"Grennan and Sperandio's paintings hang alongside six superb impressionist and post-impressionist works collected by the sisters," said Ms Farr.

These are two views of Venice by Monet, a landscape by CÚzanne, paintings by Morisot and Pissarro, and a bronze dancer by Degas.

Born in the 1880s, the sisters were the granddaughters of coal magnate David Davies, who made his fortune at the Ocean Coal Company, as well as building railways and Barry dock.

They started acquiring art from around the world in 1908, but by 1923 their buying of art slowed and they bought Gregynog Hall, near Newtown, to display their paintings.

The collection includes waterlilies by Monet, Renoir's Blue Lady and La Parisienne, Rodin's The Kiss and van Gogh's Rain at Auvers.

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