The Rollins Museum of Art acquires 38 American art paintings
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The Rollins Museum of Art acquires 38 American art paintings
Elizabeth Emmet LeRoy (American, 1794 - 1878), Boats on the Hudson. 1841 Oil on canvas. Intended gift from the Gary R. Libby Charitable Trust Collection.

WINTER PARK, FL.- In the last couple of years, the Rollins Museum of Art’s American collection has experienced transformative growth. More than 30 remarkable paintings from the 18th through the early 20th century have been received as gifts and long-term loans. At once complementary and additive, they have enriched the collection, allowing the us to present a more nuanced history of American art.

These include artists RMA did not preciously have (John Singer Sargent, Thomas Cole, Benjamin West, George Inness, and Martin Johnson Heade, among others) and different genres by painters we already owned (Robert Henri, William Merritt Chase). They strengthen the representation of19th century women artists (introducing works by Elizabeth Emmet LeRoy, Lilian Thomas Schmidt, and Jane Stuart) and bolster genres already strong (for instance, 19th century landscape painting, including new works by Thomas Moran, John Henry Twachtman, and Herman Herzog).

Highlight works include a John Singer Sargent from 1880 (left), a portrait of his friend (and title of the piece) Francis Brooks Chadwick, with whom Sargent traveled to the Netherlands. They went to Haarlem, site of the Frans Hals Museum, to copy works by the Golden Age portraitist who inspired other generations (Sargent’s included) with his particularly “loose” style. This portrait demonstrates attributes which would become hallmarks of Sargent’s practice as a painter.

Another painting, a late-career Thomas Cole from 1844 (below), represents a historical period of distress for artists, philosophers, explorers and the like, as industrial and economic development rapidly took over in the states. Specific to Cole, this landscape represents Catskills near the Catskill Mountain House, where he spent much time. It is a register of rage and despair at these changes, as the titular house is dwarfed by the awesome power of a thunderous storm. In a sense, it shows Cole attempting to reverse the ravages of time, returning his beloved Catskills to their state when he first encountered them.

Jane Stuart is newly represented in the collection, by Male Portrait (left), which features perhaps a Charleston, SC sitter in her typical style, heavily influenced by that of her father (famed Revolutionary- era portrait painter Gilbert Stuart). Stuart was the first female portraitist in Newport, Rhode Island, where she remained a fixture of society until her death in 1888, achieving a reputation as an entertainer, wit, and bohemian.

These works, along with more than 30 others, come from Rollins alumnae Barbara and Ted Alfond (and the donors behind of The Alfond Collection of Contemporary Art at RMA), as well as The Martin Andersen-Gracia Andersen Foundation. Anonymous donors and individual collectors like art historian and educator Gary R. Libby (of Daytona Beach) and the Winnifred Johnson Clive Foundation (a longtime funder of RMA’s educational programs K-12), have graciously donated paintings from their collections as well.

American Visions celebrates this growth of the collection and, specific to this exhibition, continues a long history of the Museum’s exuberant collecting of American art. It also reflects a special shared interest and effort from collectors in this community, who recognize the importance of these works as they align with the breadth of the overall collection and the educational mission of the museum.

“We are deeply grateful to the generous donors who gave us the works showcased in this exhibition. Together, they are truly transformative for the collection, positioning the Rollins Museum of Art well to share a more comprehensive and nuanced history of American art” – Ena Heller, Ph.D., Bruce A. Beal Director, RMA

The exhibition is accompanied by a catalog written by Dr. Grant Hamming, former American Art Research Fellow at the RMA. It is organized by the Rollins Museum of Art with funding from the Ann M. MacArthur Fund. Exhibitions at RMA are funded, in part, by Orange County Government through the Arts & Cultural Affairs Program, and the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Arts and Culture, and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture. The Rollins Museum of Art is generously funded, in part, by Rollins College, Winter Park, FL.

THE ROLLINS MUSEUM OF ART The Rollins Museum of Art features rotating exhibitions, ongoing programs, and an extensive permanent collection of more than 6,000 objects that spans centuries, from examples of ancient art and artifacts to contemporary art. Open to the public year-round, its holdings include the only European Old Master paintings in the Orlando area, a sizeable American art collection, and a forward-thinking contemporary collection on view both at the Museum and The Alfond Inn at Rollins.

ROLLINS COLLEGE Founded in 1885, Rollins College is Florida's oldest recognized college. Located in Winter Park, near Orlando, Rollins is consistently ranked as one of the top regional universities in the South by U.S. News & World Report. In addition to full-time undergraduate programs in the College of Liberal Arts, Rollins offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs for working adults through its evening program at the Hamilton Holt School and graduate business degree programs through its Crummer Graduate School of Business, which has been ranked a top MBA program by Forbes and Bloomberg BusinessWeek.

The Rollins Museum of Art
To Present American Visions: Recent Additions to the Collection
September 9th, 2023 - January 7th, 2024

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