The Lay of the Land: A Celebration of Art Acquired by the Friends of the Collection (19832010), on view January 15 through May 8, 2011, at the Portland Museum of Art
, will feature a special selection of approximately 25 works of art acquired by the Museum with the generous support of the Friends of the Collection. The Friends of the Collection group was established in 1983 on the occasion of the opening of the Museums Charles Shipman Payson Building.
The Lay of the Land will focus on landscapes in particular, and will include paintings, watercolors, and prints by a diverse group of artists, many native to Maine. Featuring masterworks by such artists as Charles Codman, Harrison Bird Brown, John Calvin Stevens, Robert Henri, John Walker, and Jules Olitski among others, the exhibition will chart how different artists approached the tradition of landscape painting over time. Charles Codman, considered Portlands first resident landscape painter, for instance, drew inspiration from the romantic landscapes of the 18th-century French painter Claude-Joseph Vernet (17141789), and infused his scenes of Maine with dramatic emphasis. A century later, color-field painter Jules Olitski applied saturated color to canvas to create abstract painted visions of nature. From Maine to France, from Gibeon Bradbury to David Driskell, the exhibition will cover diverse terrain historically, artistically, and culturally.
From modest beginnings, the Friends of the Collection group has grown into a large and committed fellowship of more than 260 benefactors. Friends participate in a range of programs at the Museum, from lectures to field trips. Friends contributions go directly towards the acquisition and conservation of works of art. Thanks to the Friends, the Museum has been able to acquire more than 200 works of art-a testament to how crucial this constituency has been and continues to be to the Museum.