COLUMBIA, SC.- The Columbia Museum of Art
unveils its art collection in newly re-installed galleries on Saturday, July 18, 2009. This is the first re-installation since the Museum opened on Main Street on July 18, 1998. In celebration, free admission, lectures, gallery talks, and hands-on arts activities for children are offered that day.
The art in the 17 galleries on the second floor are arranged in a new configuration with informative materials that help broaden and deepen the museums educational impact. The approximately 350 works on view include nearly 90 works that are on display for the first time. The re-installation of the galleries is made possible by a leadership gift from the City of Forest Acres, with additional funding provided by the Henry Luce Foundation.
Columbia Museum of Arts executive director Karen Brosius says, July will be an exciting time for the Museum as we show what has been accomplished since moving to Main Street in 1998. The publication of the catalogue of the European art collection a culmination of 15 years of research and the re-installation highlighting two major new focuses American art and Asian art adds breadth and diversity to the museums international art collection.
The 60-year-old museum has been best known for its world-class Kress Collection of Renaissance, Baroque and 18th-century art. Now for the first time in the museums history, there are dedicated galleries for the display of American and Asian art objects in addition to the European art collection. This is, in large part, the result of recent gifts and loans to the museum the gift of the Robert Turner Collection of Chinese Art, the largest and most significant collection of Asian art created for the Asian market in South Carolina, and a new collaboration with the Dietrich American Foundation. Located at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Dietrich American Foundation is providing approximately 45 works on long-term loan, including exceptional examples of Philadelphia and New England furniture, Philadelphia silver, Chinese export porcelain, China Trade paintings, and English ceramics. Paintings from the Foundation include a portrait of Charles Cotesworth Pinckney a famous South Carolinian by John Trumbull and a painting by N.C. Wyeth. The receipt of the Dietrich American Foundation objects transforms the museums 18th-century American furniture collection into the strongest in the state and one of the finest in the Southeast region.
In conjunction with the re-installation, the museum is also premiering the newly published catalogue, European Art in the Columbia Museum of Art, Including the Samuel H. Kress Collection, Volume 1: The Thirteenth through the Sixteenth Century, which is the first-ever publication about the museums European art collection. Published by University of South Carolina Press, the catalogue is a lavishly illustrated guidebook to the museums late Gothic and Renaissance collections and highlights 84 paintings, drawings, prints, sculptures, decorative bronzes, furniture, ceramics, stained glass and textiles. Presented with color illustrations and detailed art historical context, 56 works of Renaissance art by such prominent figures as Bernardo Daddi, Sandro Botticelli, Mariotto Albertinelli, Albrecht Dürer, Parmigianino and Jacopo Tintoretto are described by accomplished art historian Dr. Charles R. Mack and a team of researchers, including the museums chief curator and curator of European art. Included are essays with in-depth examinations of the artists biography and contribution, the work and its provenance, and its history of attributions, ownership and exhibition. The entries also describe such matters as condition, conservation history, and in the case of paintings, the authenticity of frames. The catalogue is available, beginning July 18, in the Museum Shop for $29.95 paperback and $59.95 hardcover. This catalogue is supported, in part, through the generosity of the Samuel H. Kress Foundation.
Déjà View Day: Rediscover The Museum Collection
A free public day takes place on Saturday, July 18, for the entire community and kicks off at 10:00 a.m. with opening words from local elected officials, board president Dr. Ronald C. Rogers and executive director, Karen Brosius. Dr. James D. Burke, director emeritus of the St. Louis Art Museum and American art scholar, presents a slide-illustrated lecture on the newly installed American art gallery at 11:00 a.m. Chief curator and curator of European art, Dr. Todd Herman and associate curator of decorative arts, Brian Lang, present gallery talks at noon and 1:00 p.m. on paintings and decorative arts highlighted from the collection. Additionally, the family program Passport to Art, held from 10:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m, is a drop-in where children can make their own art inspired by pieces in the Museum collection. Admission to galleries, lectures, gallery talks and Passport to Art is free.
In preparation for this major re-installation, all museum galleries will be closed June 8 through June 25. Upstairs galleries remain closed until July 18. Downstairs galleries re-open on June 26 with the exhibition Cleve Gray: Man and Nature.