Liz Whitney Quisgard. Wall Hanging: 42 Circles, 2005. The Baltimore Museum of Art: Gift of the Artist, BMA 2014.20.
Liz Whitney Quisgard. Wall Hanging: 42 Circles, 2005. The Baltimore Museum of Art: Gift of the Artist, BMA 2014.20.

More than 200 works show the breadth and depth of the BMA’s collection; concurrent exhibition showcases additional works by Maryland artists

BALTIMORE, MD (UPDATED February 1, 2016)—The Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA) celebrates the evolution of its world-class collection in New Arrivals: Gifts of Art for a New Century. On view February 7—May 8, 2016, this stunning exhibition presents more than 200 artworks—many on view for the first time—with masterworks by Degas, Kelly, Magritte, Matisse, Rodin, and many others given to the BMA during its enormously successful Campaign for Art. This is the first major exhibition for the BMA since the museum began its multi-year renovation, completed in October 2015. Nearly every area of the collection is represented with objects spread across geography, culture, chronology, and medium. These objects are often shown in groupings that juxtapose works already in the collection with those recently acquired, making surprising connections and providing a glimpse of the museum’s discerning acquisition process.

An adjacent display of newly acquired artworks by Maryland-based artists, New Arrivals: Maryland Artists, is on view concurrently with the Gifts of Art for a New Century exhibition. Approximately 20 recently acquired artworks—many on view for the first time—include paintings, drawings, prints, photographs, and books made by artists who have lived and worked in Maryland in the 20th and 21st centuries such as Raoul Middleman, John Waters, Elinor B. Cahn, and Gabrielle DeVaux Clements. Both exhibitions are curated by Senior Curator of Prints, Drawings & Photographs Rena Hoisington.

“We are extremely grateful for the extraordinary generosity of many donors who chose to contribute so meaningfully to the museum,” said Interim Co-Director Jay Fisher. “Their gifts have transformed the collection and made it possible for Baltimore audiences to see these striking works and discover how they resonate with each other.”

Some objects in the Gifts of Art for a New Century exhibition are perfectly matched, such as two paintings by the French Post-Impressionist Pierre Bonnard that depict the same basket of fruit from two different perspectives and a rare pair of late 18th-century demi-lune tables acquired 35 years apart. Others are presented in groupings such as four impressions of Nocturne, a magnificent 1879-80 etching by James Abbott McNeill Whistler and eight miniature bronze animals by Antoine-Louis Barye. Some of the most dramatic works in the exhibition include René Magritte’s enormous bronze Delusions of Grandeur (1967), Liz Whitney Quisgard’s nearly 12-foot long needlepoint Wall Hanging: 42 Circles (2005), Grace Hartigan’s arresting oil on canvas, Pallas Athena—Fire (1961), and an ornately carved walnut sideboard displaying a variety of brilliant contemporary glass objects.

The Campaign for Art held during the decade leading up to the BMA’s 100th anniversary added more than 4,000 artworks to the museum’s collection thanks to the generosity of hundreds of donors from Baltimore and beyond. These gifts have joined the museum’s renowned collection—now 95,000 objects—most of which came from generous donors in this community like Claribel and Etta Cone, Jacob Epstein, and Saidie A. May, and through the thoughtful stewardship of many curators.

The exhibition is generously sponsored by The Richard C. von Hess Foundation. Additional support is provided by The Alvin and Fanny Blaustein Thalheimer Foundation Exhibition Endowment Fund, RBC Wealth Management, and Frederick Singley Koontz, Chair of the BMA Board of Trustees, 2011-2015, honored for his distinguished leadership with gifts from BMA Trustees and Staff.

Gifts of Art for a New Century is the culmination of a series of New Arrivals exhibitions that began in September 2015. The series launched with two exhibitions of contemporary photographs: Photographs from the O’Neil Collection (September 30, 2015 – March 27, 2016) and Late 20th-century Photographs from Russia & Belarus (September 30 – March 20, 2016). These exhibitions were followed by a contemplative video by contemporary artist Joachim Koester (October 28, 2015 – March 6, 2016), a selection of prints and drawings by Henri Matisse (December 9, 2015 –July 3, 2016), and a stunning array of art quilts (December 16, 2015 –June 19, 2016). All seven of the New Arrivals exhibitions will be on view concurrently for one month, February 7–March 6, 2016.

Brief descriptions of the earlier New Arrivals exhibitions:
New Arrivals: Photographs from the O’Neil Collection
September 30, 2015 – March 27, 2016

This exhibition features approximately 18 outstanding color and black-and-white photographs that were part of a major gift from Baltimore collectors Tom and Nancy O’Neil, who have collected 20th- and 21st-century photography for more than two decades. Works by contemporary masters and new talents such as Dawoud Bey, Richard Misrach, and Abelardo Morell demonstrate the O’Neil’s interest in images that speak to today’s landscape and environmental issues, as well as portraits
that offer sensitive studies of the human experience.

New Arrivals: Late 20th-Century Photographs from Russia & Belarus
September 30, 2015 – March 20, 201
Twenty photographs by Russian and Belarusian artists capture once-powerful symbols of the eroding Soviet State. These works came to the BMA from Brenda Edelson, who served as the museum’s Program Director from 1973-85. Many of the works date to the late 1980s and early 1990s when the Soviet Union was increasingly opening up to the West. Highlights of the exhibition include Sergey Kozhemyakin’s Transformation of the Image Nos. 1-4 (1990), a series of four gelatin silver prints in which an image of Lenin is scratched and darkened until it is rendered unrecognizable.

New Arrivals: Joachim Koester
October 28, 2015 – March 6, 2016
This 3-minute 16mm film, Message from Andrée by Danish artist Joachim Koester was inspired by a hot air balloon expedition led by researcher Salomon August Andrée, who left Norway to journey across the North Pole in 1897. The explorers’ remains were found 33 years later with a box of negatives that told the story of a crash and an ill-fated three-month trek across the ice. Koester photographed the stained and scratched negatives for the film, a promised gift from BMA National Trustee Monroe Denton, which evokes memories of the tragedy and the forces of time and weather.

New Arrivals: Matisse Prints & Drawings
December 9, 2015 – July 3, 2016
Approximately 20 prints and drawings demonstrate the continuing legacy of the BMA’s relationship with members of the Matisse family. Etta and Claribel Cone’s dedication to collecting the art of Henri Matisse established at the BMA one of the most comprehensive collections of the artist’s work. Recognizing the unique character of the BMA’s Matisse collection, recent gifts from the Pierre and Tana Matisse Foundation and the collection of Marguerite Matisse Duthuit, have now established the BMA’s holdings as the most comprehensive collection of Matisse prints in North America.

New Arrivals: Art Quilts
December 16, 2015 – June 19, 2016
Five spectacular quilts created by artists who abandoned their original media in order to express themselves with cloth and thread. These intricate art quilts include Metamorphosis (1983) by Michael James and #76 (1988), an elaborately pieced and painted quilt by Pamela Studstill accompanied by the original drawing and fabric swatches. Also on view are Plantation (1980) and Purple Mountains (1991) by Baltimore artists Elizabeth Scott and Adrien Rothschild, and Marsh Island (1986), a triptych by Gayle Fraas and Duncan Slade.

About the Baltimore Museum of Art

Founded in 1914, the Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA) inspires people of all ages and backgrounds through exhibitions, programs, and collections that tell an expansive story of art—challenging long-held narratives and embracing new voices. Our outstanding collection of more than 97,000 objects spans many eras and cultures and includes the world’s largest public holding of works by Henri Matisse; one of the nation’s finest collections of prints, drawings, and photographs; and a rapidly growing number of works by contemporary artists of diverse backgrounds. The museum is also distinguished by a neoclassical building designed by American architect John Russell Pope and two beautifully landscaped gardens featuring an array of modern and contemporary sculpture. The BMA is located three miles north of the Inner Harbor, adjacent to the main campus of Johns Hopkins University, and has a community branch at Lexington Market. General admission is free so that everyone can enjoy the power of art.

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