Curated by Wayne Lempka
Jacob Riis, Necktie Workshop in a Division Street Tenement, 1890; reprinted 1945, vintage gelatin silver print, gift of Howard Greenberg, 2002.076.022
From its humble beginnings in the 1950s, the permanent collection of the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art (formerly known as The College Art Gallery) has grown to comprise roughly 6,000 objects spanning over 4,000 years. While many individuals have been responsible for the increase in the number of objects accessioned into the collection, it was through the initial efforts of both the University’s Faculty Wives Club and the Arts & Crafts Society that a permanent collection was established on campus. When one considers that the few hundred objects which initially formed the core of the permanent collection in the 1950s, have grown to comprise approximately 6,000 objects, one cannot help but reflect upon the diligent efforts and the extreme generosity of a vast number of patrons over the last six decades.
George Wesley Bellows, Roumanian Girl, 1921, oil on canvas, bequest of Edward Coykendall, 1957.001.001
Typical of most university and college art museums, The Dorsky’s permanent collection is encyclopedic in nature and represents a vast array of time periods and art movements. Additionally, like most museum collections, the majority of its holdings are kept in dark storage vaults and rarely seen by the general public, and the pedagogical value of these works of art is lost if they cannot be exhibited.
Building awareness and how to use our collections effectively is one of the museum’s top priorities. Beginning with this installation, The Dorsky will focus on some of the many highlights that form the core of the permanent collection. From ancient Egyptian artifacts to American folk painting to 20th century color photographs, selections in this exhibition will periodically change in order to provide the visitor with a better understanding of the breath and depth of the museum’s holdings.
Milton Avery, Card Players, 1944, oil on canvas, gift of Mr. & Mrs. Roy R. Neuberger, 1954.002
For those who would like to have a better overview of the museum’s entire collection, please visit the computer terminal located in the Seminar Room. With a few clicks of the mouse, one can navigate the many eras and art movements represented in The Dorsky’s permanent collection. Also in the Seminar Room are display cabinets that use open storage strategies to further enhance public access to objects that have long been inaccessible to the public including a selection of contemporary metals which represents one of the strong suits of The Dorsky’s current collecting mission.
Special thanks to Susan Shaw who provided invaluable curatorial assistance with this project.
Harry Callahan, Providence, 1977, dye transfer print, gift of Mary & Charles Traub, 2002.077.005