Dallas Museum of Art exhibition celebrates 100 years of giving with seminal works from its collection

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Dallas Museum of Art exhibition celebrates 100 years of giving with seminal works from its collection
Olin Herman Travis, Mayor of Hoover City (Texas), 1929. Oil on canvas, 25 x 30 in. (63.5 x 76.2 cm). Dallas Museum of Art, The Barrett Collection, Dallas, Texas.

DALLAS, TX.- The Dallas Museum of Art celebrates more than one hundred years of benefaction from its major donors with the release of a new collection handbook in February, 2012, documenting the Museum’s transformative growth since its founding in 1903. The 368-page full-color handbook provides an overview of the quality, breadth, and depth of the Museum’s encyclopedic collection, and emphasizes the tremendous impact of the Museum’s longtime patrons on the DMA, who enabled the Museum to grow from a regional resource into one of the nation’s leading arts institutions. With an introduction by former Museum director Bonnie Pitman, the guide highlights more than four hundred works of art with new photography and scholarship, and showcases in particular recent gifts and major acquisitions from the past fifteen years, including the Museum’s strengthened holdings of contemporary art, European and American art, decorative arts and design, African art, Indonesian art, and the work of Texas artists.

In conjunction with the new handbook, Museum curators and educators have organized a special exhibition pairing approximately sixty works that have been gifted to the Museum by longstanding donors. On view from February 12 through June 10, 2012, Face to Face: International Art at the DMA not only sheds new light on linkages between artworks from different disciplines, regions, and time periods but also underscores the diverse collecting interests of the Museum’s donors and their shared vision to expand the Museum’s collection across a comprehensive range, both geographically and chronologically. Seminal works featured in the exhibition, as well as throughout the Museum’s galleries, are profiled in greater depth through nearly fifty new additions to the Museum’s smARTphone tour, available at DMA.mobi.

“This new catalogue, and in turn the related programming, serves as testament to the remarkable dedication of the individuals who have given so generously to the Dallas Museum of Art over the decades and who have worked to give our collection a diversity and richness that inspires new discoveries every day,” said Bonnie Pitman, former Eugene McDermott Director at the DMA and co-organizer of Face to Face. “We are deeply grateful for their inspired vision and exceptional contributions that have led us down new paths of inquiry and to the creation of countless exhibitions, research projects, and public programs. They have left an incredible legacy for the Museum and community. ”

“Dallas has an extraordinary community of collectors who have provided the DMA with sustained support over decades. Our patrons have been pivotal in the creation of a large, superb collection for broad public enjoyment,” said Maxwell L. Anderson, the Eugene McDermott Director at the DMA. “I look forward to collaborating with these discerning and generous supporters to add to the Museum’s encyclopedic collection.”

Dallas Museum of Art: A Guide to the Collection ($24.95; paperback; 368 pages) provides an overview of the Museum’s holdings, which span more than five thousand years of world history and form the foundation for the Museum’s programming. Organized by collecting area, the guide profiles some four hundred masterworks that exemplify the breadth and depth of the collection. The catalogue includes an introduction by Bonnie Pitman, former Eugene McDermott Director, and contributions by Museum curators Olivier Meslay, Anne Bromberg, Jeffrey Grove, Heather MacDonald, Carol Robbins, Kevin W. Tucker, and Roslyn Adele Walker, among others.

Face to Face: International Art at the DMA
Face to Face brings into dialogue sixty paired works from the Museum’s collection donated by some of the DMA’s great benefactors, among them James and Lillian Clark, Cecil and Ida Green, Nancy and Jake Hamon, Marguerite and Robert Hoffman, Mr. and Mrs. Algur H. Meadows, Eugene and Margaret McDermott, David T. Owsley, the family of Raymond Nasher, and Deedie and Rusty Rose. Highlights from the exhibition include:

• A stainless steel polished sculpture by American artist David Smith, titled Cubi XVII, 1963, from The Eugene and Margaret McDermott Art Fund, Inc., presented alongside a bronze sculpture, Flora, 1911, by French artist Aristide Maillol, given by Eugene and Margaret McDermott. Visually, both of these majestic 20th-century sculptures present ideal forms, but in contrasting ways.

• A jadeite mask from the Olmec culture in Mexico dating from 900 to 500 B.C., given by Mr. and Mrs. Eugene McDermott and The Eugene McDermott Foundation and Mr. and Mrs. Algur H. Meadows and the Meadows Foundation, Incorporated, and a standing male ancestor figure (singiti) from the Democratic Republic of Congo, from the late 19th or early 20th century, given by the McDermott Foundation in honor of Eugene McDermott. Masks such as this carved in exquisite semi-precious stone carried many meanings to the Olmecs, while the singiti, adorned with beads, clothed in hide, and carved in wood, provide a link between past generations and current clan leaders in Congo.

• A self-portrait by Dutch artist Piet Mondrian from 1942, done in ink, charcoal, and gouache on paper, and given by James H. and Lillian Clark to the Foundation for the Arts. The drawing is displayed next to a 20th-century wooden face mask created by the Igbo peoples in Nigeria, and acquired by The Eugene and Margaret McDermott Art Fund, Inc. Mondrian’s self-portrait reduces his own head to a series of sharp planes defined by terse black lines. The African Igbo face mask creates an imaginary face by similar means. Sharp, brightly colored planes define the face in a non-naturalistic way.

• A quilted panel from Peru, made circa A.D. 650–850 by the Huari culture, from the DMA collection, and Ellsworth Kelly’s 1952 checkered painting, a promised gift of the Marguerite and Robert Hoffman Collection in honor of Dr. John R. Lane. Though differing in creative impulse and materials (feathers and cotton cloth versus oil on wood), and made more than a thousand years apart, the aesthetic similarity of the two works is revealed in their creative use of geometric patterns.

Face to Face: International Art at the DMA was conceived and organized collaboratively by the Dallas Museum of Art’s curatorial staff, led by Bonnie Pitman and Anne Bromberg, The Cecil and Ida Green Curator of Ancient and Asian Art, working with the Museum’s education and exhibitions departments.

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