As part of the Crocker Art Museum
s 125,000-square-foot expansion project to be completed in October 2010 the Museum will unveil the new Anne and Malcolm McHenry Works on Paper Study Center and exhibition space. The new Center is designed to significantly enhance public access to the Museums exceptional collection of more than 1,400 master drawings and will open with the inaugural exhibition, A Pioneering Collection: Master Drawings from the Crocker Art Museum. On view from October 10, 2010 through February 6, 2011, the exhibition of more than 50 rarely seen works by artists such as Albrecht Dürer, Fra Bartolommeo, Anthonie van Dyck, François Boucher and Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres showcases the variety and quality the finest early collection of European drawings in the United States.
The Crockers master drawings collection has long been known as a collection of the highest quality, but it will come into its own with this and future exhibitions in the Works on Paper Study Center, said Crocker Art Museum curator William Breazeale.
While the collection has long been known mainly by specialists in the field, the new Anne and Malcolm McHenry Works on Paper Study Center will enable the Museum to share these masterworks more fully with the public. A Pioneering Collection marks the launch of a series of regular special exhibitions and programs for works on paper for the first time in the history of the Crocker. In addition to two dedicated galleries for special exhibitions, the state-of-the-art facility comprises a 926-square-foot storage room and an 810-square-foot study room for scholars, artists, and the public by appointment.
A Pioneering Collection is the first show organized by the Crocker with a focus on celebrating the collection's superb quality and beauty. The exhibition features many notable works, including:
· Albrecht Dürer's Female Nude with a Staff, drawn by the greatest German artist of the Renaissance in 1498, soon after his return from Italy.
· The Meeting of the Doge and Pope at Ancona by the gifted Venetian Renaissance painter Vittore Carpaccio, the only surviving compositional drawing for a lost mural painting in the city's Palazzo Ducale.
· Studies of Human Bones by Jan Steven van Calcar, a collaborator of Titian, engraved for one of the first systematic anatomical texts ever published, Andreas Vesalius' Tabulae anatomicae sex of 1538.
· Jan Savery's Dodo birds, one of the most important drawings of the exotic creatures made before their extinction in the 1680s.
· Two Clerics by Peter Lely, one of a series of 31 drawings depicting a Procession of the Order of the Garter by the greatest portraitist working in 17th-century England.
· Gaspard Dughet's Landscape with Two Figures made for a fresco in Rome's Palazzo Colonna by the distinguished landscape painter. The Crocker owns more Dughet drawings than any other American museum.
· A Scene of Sorcery by Claude Gillot, the teacher of Watteau, showing a moment of dark fantasy by the fashionable French painter.
· Madame de Pompadour and her daughter Alexandrine, a rare double portrait by the French court artist François Guérin.
· The Actor Brochard in Costume, one of the earliest surviving portraits by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, made before he achieved fame in that genre.
· A dramatic view of The Neuthor, Ulm, by the German artist and architect Domenico Quaglio the Younger, responsible for the renovation of the iconic castle of Hohenschwangau.
Amassed within 20 years of California s statehood by railroad magnate E.B. Crocker, the Crockers collection of master drawings demonstrates the vision and dedication of the state's early patrons of the arts. The Crocker familys trip to Europe in 1869-71 enabled them to assemble a collection with superb examples from the major European schools.
E.B. and Margaret Crocker were very forward-thinking patrons, Breazeale continued. Though California was still a frontier in many ways, this collection was part of a consistent effort by early families including the Stanfords and Huntingtons to bring great artistic masterpieces to the people in the West and to rival the great collections of Europe.
The exhibit is supported in part through a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. A full-color catalogue published by Paul Holberton Publishing, London , will accompany the exhibition. The catalogue will include essays and entries by William Breazeale, curator at the Crocker Art Museum, Cara Dufour Denison, curator at the Morgan Library and Museum, Stacey Sell, associate curator of Old Master drawings at the National Gallery of Art, and Freyda Spira, research associate at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
A Pioneering Collection will premiere at the Portland Art Museum in Oregon in June 2010 before going on view at the Crocker. The exhibition will travel to the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center at Vassar College in September 2011.