New acquisitions at Cheekwood Estate & Gardens
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New acquisitions at Cheekwood Estate & Gardens
Elizabeth Turk (American, b. 1961) Red-cockaded Woodpecker, Golden-winged Warbler and King Rail, 2023, aluminum, Museum purchase, 2022.2-4.

NASHVILLE, TENN.- Cheekwood Estate & Gardens announced the two acquisitions for the permanent collection. Babette by Eugene Speicher is now on display in the permanent collection galleries in the Cheekwood Mansion and Red-cockaded Woodpecker, Golden-winged Warbler and King Rail by Elizabeth Turk is displayed on the Ann & Monroe Carell Jr. Family Sculpture Trail.

“We are thrilled to add two significant works to the permanent collection,” says Cheekwood Vice President of Museum Affairs Sarah Sperling. “Eugene Speicher’s painting of Babette is a wonderful complement to Cheekwood’s strong Ashcan School and Realist works of art already in our collection. We are also very excited to continue bringing world-class outdoor contemporary sculpture to Nashville with Elizabeth Turk’s sound columns.”

Babette by Eugene Speicher

A widely exhibited and published portrait by Eugene Edward Speicher (1883-1962), Babette an oil on canvas painting completed in 1931, is a significant addition to Cheekwood’s permanent collection known for fine examples of decorative arts, sculpture and American Impressionist paintings, as well as paintings and works on paper by The Ashcan School.

Eugene Speicher, a Realist painter, was influenced by his studies under Robert Henri who pioneered the Ashcan School, a late 19th-century to early 20th-century group of artists who depicted everyday life. Speicher was recognized for his work in portraiture and often chose women as his subjects, depicting many prominent individuals including Georgia O’Keefe and Katharine Cornell. Babette New was a model Speicher used numerous times throughout his career. Babette was first exhibited at the Carnegie Institute in 1931 and would go on to tour in exhibitions throughout the country, receiving featured reviews in newspapers and publications such as Vogue and Vanity Fair. During his lifetime, Speicher received a steady stream of significant awards and his work was acquired by many major museums, including the Whitney Museum of American Art and Smithsonian American Art Museum. In 1936, Esquire magazine called Speicher America’s most important living painter.

Guests can view Speicher’s Babette alongside many other exceptional works in the Cheekwood Mansion permanent collection galleries.

Red-cockaded Woodpecker, Golden-winged Warbler and King Rail by Elizabeth Turk

As part of the 2023 Tennessee Triennial for Contemporary Art: RE-Pair celebration across the state, Cheekwood has acquired a grouping of three aluminum sculptures by Elizabeth Turk (b. 1961). Red- cockaded Woodpecker, Golden-winged Warbler and King Rail join 14 other works along the 1.5-mile Ann & Monroe Carell Jr. Family Sculpture Trail and make a powerful connection between art and nature.

Drawing inspiration from the songs of three endangered Tennessee birds: the Red-cockaded Woodpecker, the Golden-winged Warbler and the King Rail, this sculptural grouping represents the birds through elegant, totemic sound columns. Turk frequently commemorates the calls of endangered and extinct birds in her work by using printouts of the sound waves they generate(d) during song.

Working with recordings archived by the Macaulay Library of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Turk enlarges the sound wave images, reorients them from horizontal to vertical, and then painstakingly reproduces them in a variety of materials to manufacture her totems. These towering forms create a forest of fabricated objects wherein the scarce and lost voices of birds can be visualized and heard once more.

Known for her marble sculpture, Echoes of Extinction series, and immersive art events, Turk is a MacArthur Fellow, a Smithsonian Artist Fellow, and a recipient of the Annalee & Barnett Newman Foundation award, along with many others. Turk received her MFA from Maryland Institute College of Art, Rinehart School of Sculpture and her BA from Scripps College, Claremont, California.

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