From a 17th century etching by Rembrandt to a color linoleum cut by Picasso, selections from the Wake Forest University art collections will be on exhibit Aug. 24 through Oct. 14 in the Wake Forest Fine Arts Gallery.
“Jewels in Our Crown: Treasures From the Wake Forest Art Collections” will showcase about 50 of the more than 1,300 works of art owned by Wake Forest. The exhibit will be in the Wake Forest Fine Arts Gallery of Scales Fine Arts Center. It has been put together by curator Kathryn McHenry to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the beginning of Wake Forest’s art collections.
The Simmons Collection, donated in 1941, was the first major collection of art given to the university. Wake Forest alumnus Thomas Jackson Simmons contributed his complete art collection of 94 pieces. “Niagara,” a large-scale oil painting by Albert Bierstadt, is a Simmons Collection piece included in the exhibit. Bierstadt, one of the most internationally honored American artists of the 19th century, specialized in monumental “New World” landscapes.
Building from the Simmons Collection, the university now has nine art collections. Art from seven of these collections is included in the show.
Twenty-five paintings, prints, sculptures, photographs and mixed-media works from the Student Union Collection of Contemporary Art will be included in the show. Begun in 1962, this collection includes the work of outstanding artists from the latter half of the 20th century, such as Pablo Picasso, Robert Rauschenburg, Jasper Johns and Alex Katz. Every four years, under the direction of an art department faculty member, a small group of Wake Forest students research the contemporary American art scene and purchase new pieces for the collection using university funds. Six of the eight pieces added to the collection in the spring will be on exhibit.
“Spanish Girl,” an 1886 oil painting on mahogany by William Merritt Chase is one of three pieces from the Philip Hanes Art Collection included in the exhibit.
Julian Stanczak’s giant 1995 acrylic on canvas, “Forced to Choose,” is part of the university’s general collection and will be included in the show. It was donated by Wake Forest alumnus Neil Rector.
Selections from the Wake Forest Print Collection will include Rembrandt’s “Presentation in the Temple,” a 16th century Albrecht Durer engraving, a CÈzanne print and “Where the Water Goes,” a 1989 print by James Rosenquist. The teaching collection was started more than 30 years ago with a grant from the Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation.
“Over the past 60 years, through the generous gifts of museum quality art and careful purchasing, the Wake Forest art collections have increased in quality and value,” said McHenry. “I feel very privileged to have the opportunity to curate the first full exhibition of the collection and to introduce this wonderful resource to the community.”
Admission is free. Gallery hours are Monday through Friday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and weekends, 1 p.m.-5 p.m. Audio tours are available for individuals visiting the gallery. Group tours can also be arranged be calling the gallery. For information, call 336-758-5585.
Editor’s note: High-resolution photos of selected pieces in the show are available by e-mail from the News Service.
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