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Bruce Museum Opens Exhibition of West African Gold from the Olga Hirshhorn Collection
West African gold ornament from the Olga Hirshhorn Collection.
GREENWICH, CT.- The Bruce Museum in Greenwich, Connecticut, opens a second show this summer drawn from the collections of former Greenwich native Olga Hirshhorn entitled West African Gold from the Ivory Coast: The Olga Hirshhorn Collection, on view through Sunday, November 8, 2009. Mrs. Hirshhorn married famed art collector Joseph H. Hirshhorn, and together they founded the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C. in 1974. She started her gold collection in the 1970s, shortly after she met her future husband.

Mrs. Hirshhorn began acquiring gold necklaces to complement a Victorian necklace collection that she already had. She would purchase the objects during visits to England, France and New York, and soon focused on gold ornaments and pendants, many of which will be on view in the exhibition. Her collecting of gold objects spanned several years but as of today has stopped, simply because “I don’t have any room,” she commented.

Comprised of about 90 pieces, West African from the Ivory Coast: The Olga Hirshhorn Collection consists of finely wrought works of gold depicting human faces and animals. This viewing marks the second time that the Bruce Museum has exhibited the collection, which was last shown in 1989. A majority of the pieces on display were made by various Lagoons peoples from Côte d’Ivoire, formerly Ivory Coast, such as the Ebrie and Akye. Some were cast by the Baule peoples who live in the northwest part of Côte d’Ivoire. Today, gold ornaments are still worn by women as hair ornaments and by men as a display of wealth and social status.

Olga Hirshhorn, née Olga Zatorsky to working class Ukrainian immigrants, grew up in Greenwich and reminisces, “Bruce Park was my playground, and the Bruce Museum was my classroom.” A complementary exhibition of her collection of small-scale art works, The Mouse House: Art from the Collection of Olga Hirshhorn, is also on view at the Bruce Museum through Sunday, October 18, 2009.

Bruce Museum | Olga Hirshhorn | Greenwich | Washington | Ivory Coast |

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