Muscarelle exhibits feature colonial photos, architecture
September 4, 2007
Nestled between Andrews and Jones Halls, the Muscarelle Museum of Art is a boldly angular building among math, government and economics majors. One side displays the colorful solar wall, while inside resides the College’s eclectic collection of fine art.
p. Beginning this Saturday, the Muscarelle will temporarily add to its selection with two special exhibition collections: “America the Beautiful: The Monumental Landscapes by Clyde Butcher” and “Building a College: The Colonial Revival Campus at the College of William and Mary.”
p. ‘America the Beautiful’ is a collection of 60 large format, black-and-white photographs reminiscent of the work of famed conservationist photographer Ansel Adams. Butcher has followed in Adams’ footsteps, using his art to encourage the preservation of the country’s natural beauty.
p. Muscarelle Director Aaron De Groft ’88 recognized Butcher’s similarities with Adams, and praised him for exceeding Adams’ vision.
p. “Butcher’s immense and shockingly beautiful black-and-white views of the land make him the only natural successor to Ansel Adams, although he eclipses that father of American landscape photography through his vision and his use of size, clarity, light and composition,” he said in a press release.
p. A part of the Muscarelle’s Art in America series, ‘America the Beautiful’ will feature photographs taken from a variety of locations stretching from Hawaii to Maine. The exhibit will end its run at the Muscarelle Dec. 2 before beginning a national tour.
p.‘Building a College,’ which also opens this Saturday, will run concurrently with ‘America the Beautiful until Nov. 4. However, unlike the photography exhibit, ‘Building a College’ will have a decidedly historical focus.
p. The collection is curated by Dr. Louise Kale, executive director of the historic campus at the College. It will focus on the College’s Beaux Arts campus plan in addition to its Colonial Revival Buildings from the early 20th century.
p. The exhibition will comprise reproductions of architectural drawings and archival photos, as well as portraits, prints and drawings taken from the Muscarelle’s collection. The museum will also have artifacts on loan from University Archives.
p. De Groft recognized the inherent differences of the concurrent exhibitions.
p. “As an arts organization based in our nation’s most historic area, the Muscarelle Museum has the opportunity to fulfill two distinct but complementary roles,” he said. “As an art museum, we serve as a champion for all the arts, from ancient to modern. We look to showcase what is progressive and new in the art world. At the same time, we celebrate our history because we are proud of our city’s rich traditions and those of the Commonwealth. [The ‘Building a College’ exhibit] is an important one for exploring and honoring our history and our university.”
p. Students are welcome guests of the Muscarelle and receive free admittance with a student ID. In addition to the temporary exhibitions, like the two opening this Saturday, the Muscarelle is home to a diverse collection of works, the first of which was given to the College in 1732.
p. The College now boasts a collection that includes pieces by Hans Hofmann, Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, John Stuart Copley and Georgia O’Keefe.
p. Perhaps the College’s most intriguing piece is a large portrait attributed to the famed Renaissance master Titian, which just finished a stint in the show “Titian: In Face of Power” at the Luxembourg Museum on Paris’ Left Bank.
p. The painting’s authenticity was questioned by an art critic 70 years ago based on questions as to the work’s date of origin. It existed in relative obscurity until De Groft determined that the questions of authenticity were likely based on misread Roman numerals. While the Titian hasn’t been completely validated as authentic, De Groft views its inclusion in the Paris collection as a step in the right direction.