Toledo Museum of Art adds works of art to its collection

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Toledo Museum of Art adds works of art to its collection
Timothy O'Sullivan ( American, born Ireland 1840-1882), Officers, 1864, unmounted Albumen print, 7 5/8 x 9 3/4 in. Photo credit: Chris Ridgway, Toledo Museum of Art.

TOLEDO, OH.- The Toledo Museum of Art has added a 21st-century painting by contemporary artist Xiaoze Xie, a Venetian/Ottoman circa 17th-century footed bowl with gold mounts and leather case, and a group of 19th- and 20th-century American and European photographs to its storied collection. The works expand and enhance TMA’s holdings in these areas and diversify the conversations the Museum can foster throughout its galleries and programming.

“These remarkable and distinctive works of art embody TMA’s ongoing commitment to collecting outstanding objects that speak to a range of histories, cultures and experiences,” said Adam M. Levine, the Museum’s Edward Drummond and Florence Scott Libbey director and CEO. “We are grateful to the benefactors – Spencer and Prudy Stone, Driek and Michael Zirinsky, and the previous generosity of Edward Drummond and Florence Scott Libbey – for enabling us to continue our work of broadening the narrative of art history.”

“TMA looks forward to sharing these wonderful additions to our holdings with visitors and scholars in our galleries and online in the near future,” added Andrea Gardner, TMA’s senior director of collections and curatorial affairs.

April-May, 2000, Shanghai No. 1 (2001) from the Silent Flow of Daily Life series by Chinese American artist Xiaoze Xie, depicts two piles of newspapers folded over each other, suggesting the never-ending passage of time with the consistent production of a daily paper. The artist combines the long tradition of still-life painting with a talent for painting photorealistic imagery. In this age of fast and abundant information, the painting demands a moment of stillness to reflect on the past and comments on the nature of media and our relationship to information. Xiaoze's canvas, gifted by Driek and Michael Zirinsky, expands TMA’s holdings in the area of contemporary painting by artists from Asia, as well as work that comments on current social conditions.

The resplendent glass Celsing Court Tazza (circa 1630) and its protective, custom-made leather case purchased by the Museum was once held in the internationally renowned collection of Ottoman art assembled by the Celsing family in Sweden. Tazze were commonly used by the elite for drinking red wine or serving confectionaries at the end of a banquet, while others were solely used for display and viewed in private, courtly treasuries. Mimicking carved rock crystal, the cut and engraved glass has been set into a French gold openwork mount with foliate, polychrome enamel decoration and a fantastical handle. The glass tazza was mold-blown and exhibits an oblong shape with six lobes and a six-pointed star at the base of the bowl, possibly pointing to an intended Ottoman audience. Most of the glass in the Ottoman Empire was imported, predominantly from Venice. The object strengthens TMA’s post-1500 Islamic glass holdings and broadens the Museum’s narrative of early modern artistic production, collecting and global trade.

Among the high-profile historic photographs donated to TMA by Spencer and Prudy Stone are Timothy O’Sullivan’s albumen print Officers (1864), which exemplifies the many group portraits that the photographer made of Union staff officers during the American Civil War. In this image, O'Sullivan casually poses six men in front of a large tent in a wooded area. Likely taken at a camp in Virginia, this calm, detached portrait belies the bloody battles that characterized the war. The image joins other 19th-century American photographs of battlefields, military infrastructure and notable figures in TMA's collection, advancing the museum's ability to convey the Civil War's status as the first widely photographed conflict.

In Grizzly Giant, Mariposa Grove, Yosemite (circa 1865-66), an unmounted albumen print, American master Carleton Watkins depicts the famed sequoia tree called the “Grizzly Giant,” then the United States’ oldest and tallest known tree. Grizzly Giant is an essential component of Watkins’ larger series of Yosemite images that shared the geologic and botanical wonders of California, still newly a state, with many who had not yet experienced the majesty of this landscape. Grizzly Giant joins another iconic view from Watkins’ Yosemite trips already in TMA’s collection, Pom Pom Pass – The Three Brothers (1861), underlining how his magnificent views inspired the federal protection of this wilderness and the emerging tradition of American landscape photography.

The additional photographs given to the Museum are Edward Sheriff Curtis’s photogravure Typical Nez Perce from The North American Indian (Plate 258), 1899; Thomas Eakins’s vintage albumen print Cromwell Children Wading in a Creek, Avondale, Pennsylvania, 1883; Roger Fenton’s salt print Major Burton and Officers of the 5th Dragoon Guards, Crimean War, 1855; Portrait of George Sand, an albumen print by Nadar c. 1864; and Clarence H. White’s vintage platinum print The Felix Sisters, 1904.

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