Enfilade

Huntington’s American Art Galleries to Open in June and October

Posted in museums by Editor on March 30, 2016

Press Release (24 March 2016) from The Huntington:

Artist unknown, Portrait of a Woman with a Bowl of Cherries, ca. 1770–1780, oil on panel, 28 × 23 × 2 1/2 in. (San Marino: The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens; Jonathan and Karin Fielding Collection; photo by Fredrik Nilsen)

Portrait of a Woman with a Bowl of Cherries, ca. 1770–80, oil on panel, 28 × 23 × 2 1/2 in. (San Marino: The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens; Jonathan and Karin Fielding Collection; photo by Fredrik Nilsen)

The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens in San Marino, California announced today that its new 8,600 square-foot addition to the Virginia Steele Scott Galleries of American Art will open on October 22. Named after the lead donors for the $10.3 million building project, the Jonathan and Karin Fielding Wing includes 5,000 square feet of gallery space with an inaugural exhibition of more than 200 works from the Fieldings’ esteemed collection of 18th- and early19th-century American works—including paintings, furniture, and related decorative art—some of which are promised gifts to The Huntington. The exhibition will offer important insights into the world of American art practice and culture of the time.

“The collection, display, and contextualization of historical American art is among our chief priorities,” said Laura Skandera Trombley, president of The Huntington. “And the educational and inspirational value of the new wing is immeasurable. It will bring to light unforgettable works made with American originality, and is sure to delight and surprise visitors of all ages. We are profoundly grateful to Jonathan and Karin Fielding for their vision and generosity.”

In related news, the original portion of the Scott Galleries, which has been undergoing reconfiguration and reinstallation, will reopen on June 18. It will feature a new room highlighting works from the Gail-Oxford Collection, a recent bequest to The Huntington of 18th-century works of American decorative art; a redesigned Dorothy Collis Brown Wing displaying works by Arts and Crafts architects Charles and Henry Greene; sweeping, long sightlines across galleries; and improved visitor flow. Also opening in the original portion of the building on June 18 is a focused loan exhibition, Yasuhiro Ishimoto: Bilingual Photography and the Architecture of Greene & Greene in the Susan and Stephen Chandler Wing (on view through October 3).

Designed by Frederick Fisher and Partners, who also designed the Lois and Robert F. Erburu Gallery (a 2005 addition to the same building), the new Fielding Wing features eight new rooms for art display as well as a stately glass entrance and lobby on the south side of the building that mirrors those on the north side. The entrance, along with a reconfiguration of some of the rooms of the existing building, will improve visitor flow and make entering the galleries (that will total 26,000 square feet of display space) more inviting and intuitive. The new entry will draw visitors to the galleries naturally, with the glass lobby serving as a beacon from a popular path that leads through the Shakespeare Garden from the Huntington Art Gallery, where the renowned European art collection is displayed. In addition, the entry allows easy access to and from the historic Rose Garden Tea Room and Café. Frederick Fisher and Partners also are designing the inaugural exhibition. With this expansion of the Scott Galleries (the third since 2009), The Huntington will be the home of one of the largest displays of historic American art in the Western United States.

“While the Fieldings have been collecting American art for a relatively short time, they have developed a focused and important body of historical works,” said Kevin Salatino, Hannah and Russel Kully Director of the Art Collections at The Huntington. “We plan to highlight these in a creative installation that enhances their educational content as well as their powerful aesthetic qualities.”

With more than 700 examples of American painting, sculpture, furniture, ceramics, metal, needlework, and other related decorative arts, the Fieldings’ collection is widely regarded as one of the most significant of its kind in the United Sates. The initial display of works will be grouped variously by the function of the objects, the materials from which they are made, and through the themes that they embody.

In its rich diversity, the Fielding Collection offers a rare opportunity to explore early American history through objects made for daily use and through images of the everyday people who used them. Highlights of the collection include a rare painting on panel made about 1834 by Sheldon Peck (1797–1868) portraying Samuel and Eunice Judkins, residents of Ulster County, New York; a striking portrait of a woman with a bowl of cherries, painted on panel about 1770 to 1780; a high chest of drawers made about 1774 by the Connecticut-based Eliphalet Chapin (1741–1807); a Windsor low-back settee with distinctive steam-bent arm rail made in Lancaster County, Pa., between 1760 and 1780; a rare pair of needlework pockets from about 1775, used by a woman to carry sewing implements and other items; and a Connecticut tall-case clock, with richly painted decoration and wooden works, signed by Riley Whiting (1785–1835) and made in Windsor, Conn., between 1819 and about 1828.

Begun in earnest in 1979, when the Virginia Steele Scott Foundation of Pasadena made a major gift to The Huntington in memory of art collector, patron, and philanthropist Virginia Steele Scott (1905-1975), The Huntington’s collection of American art has grown from an initial 50 paintings to nearly 13,000 objects. Recent acquisitions include works by Milton Avery (1885-1965), Richard Estes (b. 1932), Sargent Claude Johnson (1888–1967), and Helen Lundeberg (1908–1999), as well as the Gail-Oxford Collection of 18th-century decorative art.

First opened in 1984 with 6,800 square feet of gallery space, the Scott Galleries were expanded to 16,300 square feet with the addition of the Lois and Robert F. Erburu Gallery and completely reinstalled in 2009 to cover the history of art in the United States from the colonial period to the mid-20th century. In July of 2014, The Huntington expanded the display of American art further by opening more than 5,000 feet of gallery space focusing on works of 20th-century art in an area previously used for storage.

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