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Collection of Shaker objects on view at the Portland Museum of Art
Spool Rack, Mount Lebanon, N.Y., circa 1870, 7 x 5 inches. Andrews Collection, Hancock Shaker Village. Photo by Michael Fredericks.

PORTLAND, ME.- This fall the Portland Museum of Art presents an exhibition of the most significant collection of Shaker objects. Gather Up the Fragments: The Andrews Shaker Collection, on view October 27, 2011 through February 5, 2012, at the Portland Museum of Art, tells the story of the first and most avid collectors of the Shaker art, Edward Deming Andrews and his wife, Faith Young Andrews. This exhibition of more than 200 objects features Shaker furniture, printed works, visual art, tools, textiles, and small craft collected over four decades from the Andrews collection. The most comprehensive collection of Shaker materials ever assembled, the exhibition provides insight into the Andrews’s complex role as pioneers in the field of Shaker studies.

Organized by the Hancock Shaker Village in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, this exhibition examines the full scope of the Andrews’ involvement with Shakerism-as scholars, collectors, and dealers. From the 1920s through the 1960s, the Andrews actively pursued Shaker objects, collecting mainly from the Shakers themselves. Through careful documentation and scholarship the Andrewses illuminated these materials, and their collection has bequeathed to future generations the most comprehensive body of evidence on the culture of the United States of Believers.

The Collection became the lifetime passion of the Andrews who were struck by the beauty of the objects in a Shaker kitchen they chanced to visit in 1923. From the 1920s through the 1960s, the Andrews actively pursued Shaker objects, gathering pieces from the Shakers themselves, all at a time when the art and artifacts of the Shakers were not considered to be serious art. They produced numerous pioneering publications that examined many facets of Shaker life, and in effect launched the field of Shaker studies. Edward Andrews died in 1964, and his wife, Faith, died in 1990 in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, where she was born.

Gather Up the Fragments features the work of Shaker communities in Connecticut, New York, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire and includes loans from private collections. Specific objects, particularly those whose acquisition was documented by Faith Andrews in her book Fruits of the Shaker Tree of Life, are exhibited in the context of their addition to the Andrews Collection.

Gather Up the Fragments is accompanied by a 400 page full-color book published by Yale University Press and authored by Mario S. DePillis, professor emeritus of the University of Massachusetts/Amherst, and Christian Goodwillie, curator of collections at the Hancock Shaker Village. The book is the first to document the Andrews collection, presenting some 600 photographs, most never before published. The book is available in the Museum Store.

The exhibition tour schedule is: Stamford Museum & Nature Center, Stamford, CT (February 3 through April 23, 2011); Frist Center for the Visual Arts, Nashville, TN (May 20 through August 21, 2011); The Mitchell Gallery, St. John’s College, Annapolis, MD (March 9 through April 20, 2012); Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum, Wausau, WI (November 17, 2012 through January 20, 2013).

The exhibition was organized by Hancock Shaker Village, Pittsfield, MA and toured by International Arts & Artists, Washington, D.C. Sponsored by Wright Express.

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