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Chrysler Museum of Art Presents Recent and Promised Gifts of Art in Fall Exhibition
NORFOLK, Va. (Aug. 31, 2021) This fall, the Chrysler Museum of Art will present Building a Legacy: Chrysler Collects for the Future, an exhibition featuring exceptional recent and promised gifts to the Museum’s permanent collection. The show, on view Nov. 19, 2021–March 6, 2022, is presented in conjunction with the Museum’s celebration of the 50th anniversary of Walter P. Chrysler, Jr.’s transformative gift of art to the City of Norfolk.
In 1971, more than 7,000 objects from Walter Chrysler’s collection found their new home at the Norfolk Museum of Arts and Sciences, and the institution was renamed in his honor. Until his death in 1988, Chrysler would gift more than 10,000 works to the Museum. “Building a Legacy presents the ongoing impact of Chrysler’s generosity with objects from modern-day art collectors who have committed to broadening the scope of the Museum’s collection,” said Corey Piper, Ph.D, the Chrysler Museum’s Brock curator of American art and curator of the exhibition.
Meredith and Brother Rutter are among those modern-day collectors and have promised eight pieces of contemporary painting, photography and sculpture to the Chrysler that are featured in the exhibition. Their generous gift of works by McArthur Binion, Alex Prager and others will increase the diversity of the Museum’s holdings. Building a Legacy also includes an array of objects from a 17th-century Dutch old master painting and masterpieces of the American Studio Glass movement to works by some of the most dynamic artists working today like Titus Kaphar and Glenn Ligon.
“The wide variety of artworks on view from all areas of the permanent collection reflect the Museum’s mission to present relevant and impactful works of art to our community that delight, transform, and inspire. While Chrysler’s gift was encyclopedic in its scope, these additions to the collection allow the Museum to tell richer and more compelling stories and increase the diversity of its holdings,” said Chrysler Museum Director Erik Neil.
Building a Legacy explores how donors who have generously offered gifts of art have helped shape the collection by filling gaps in the Museum’s holdings as well as building upon areas of strength to enhance the depth and quality of what the Chrysler has to offer. Each section of the exhibition focuses on a theme related to enhancing the collection, highlighting efforts to tell new and more diverse histories of art. Works of varying media, time period and place of origin are juxtaposed to encourage visitors to make connections between objects that might normally inhabit far-flung galleries within the Museum. In addition to showcasing vibrant works of art, gallery texts shed light on the process by which the Museum’s collection grows and the decisions that go into collecting for the future.
“The Museum wouldn’t exist without Walter Chrysler, but it has only grown because of the support of our collectors and donors,” said Seth Feman, Ph.D., deputy director for art and interpretation and curator of photography. “Over the last 50 years, collecting priorities have shifted from Chrysler’s day as we ask different questions about art and history. Thanks to a series of visionary curators and collectors, the Museum is able to tell entirely new stories that are deeply meaningful to visitors from throughout Hampton Roads and beyond.”
The gifts and promised gifts on view in Building a Legacy will enhance every area of the Chrysler collection. Donors have greatly enriched the Museum’s extensive and outstanding holdings of glass artwork with objects by renowned glass artists like Debora Moore and Ginny Ruffner, both new to the Chrysler collection. Other works by artists like Karl Harron and Matt Eskuche add exciting new directions to the collection by showcasing fascinating and unique glassworking techniques. Yet other gifts of glass include works by Dale Chihuly, Stanislav Libenský and Jaroslava Brychtová and Lino Tagliapietra, which expand the Museum’s collection of works by these notable masters of glass.
Recent photography gifts bring some of the medium’s historic milestones to the Chrysler, particularly in works from the 19th century. A group of Virginia daguerreotypes are presented alongside works by early European pioneers of the medium like Édouard-Denis Baldus, Charles Marville and William Henry Fox Talbot. In addition, pieces by major photographers of the 20th century like André Kertész and Aaron Siskind showcase important achievements in the history of photography. Works by contemporary photographers like Hank Willis Thomas, Greta Pratt and Sally Mann highlight exciting new directions in the medium.
Art of the 20th and 21st centuries has been a major focus of the Museum’s recent collecting efforts and several important gifts in this area will appear in the exhibition. The addition of works by local and regional artists, female artists and artists of color help bring more underrepresented artists to the collection. Well-known names in the history of art such as Romare Bearden, Elizabeth Catlett and Keith Haring will appear with artists who are less familiar, such as Anne Iott and Andrew Wodzianski. Together, these works challenge the canon of art history and introduce present and future visitors to a broader range of artists, materials and ideas.
In the area of European and American paintings, works like the dazzling Portrait of a Young Man in Red Riding Habit by the 17th-century painter Wybrand de Geest and John Leslie Breck’s Springtime fill gaps in the Museum’s holdings in Dutch portraiture and American Impressionism. Other recent gifts like a late portrait by Pierre-Auguste Renoir add depth to the Chrysler’s holdings of the artist, which include two paintings, sculpture and works on paper by the French Impressionist. Works recently given to the Museum by American artists Susan Watkins and George Luks enhance the caliber of the holdings of these artists and allow for a fuller representation of their artistic contributions.
As the Chrysler looks toward its next 50 years, the gifts and promised gifts of art on view in Building a Legacy will serve as the foundation for the institution’s mission to serve as a site of education and focal point for community dialogue.
ABOUT THE CHRYSLER MUSEUM OF ART
The Chrysler Museum of Art is one of America’s most distinguished mid-sized art museums, with a nationally recognized collection of more than 30,000 objects, including one of the great glass collections in America. The core of the Chrysler’s collection comes from Walter P. Chrysler, Jr., an avid art collector who donated thousands of objects from his private collection to the Museum. The Museum has growing collections in many areas and mounts an ambitious schedule of visiting exhibitions and educational programs each season. The Chrysler has also been recognized nationally for its unique commitment to hospitality with its innovative gallery host program.
The Perry Glass Studio is a state-of-the-art facility on the Museum’s campus. The studio offers programming for aspiring and master artists alike in a variety of processes including glassblowing, fusing, flameworking, coldworking and neon.
In addition, the Chrysler Museum of Art administers the Moses Myers House, a historic house in downtown Norfolk, as well as the Jean Outland Chrysler Library. For more information on the Chrysler Museum of Art, visit chrysler.org.
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