Saturday, November 1, 2014

Research: Worcester Art Museum "Then and Now" by Travis Simpkins. Update #19

      -The first photo, from 1910, was taken from the entryway looking into the west gallery of the third floor. Natural light bathes the room and illuminates a symmetrical series of portraits and landscapes. The row of paintings consists largely of what was then Contemporary Art, American Impressionism, intermingled with some Colonial and Hudson River works. Today, the same spot finds the onlooker gazing into the American Decorative Arts Gallery. Companion portraits by Gilbert Stuart frame a view of Revere silver and, further on, Whistler's "Arrangement in Black and Brown (The Fur Jacket)."
     -The second "Then and Now" composition contrasts the inaugural exhibition in the first floor Hiatt gallery in 1984 with the recently opened "Stencil-dyed Japanese Folk Art Calendars". Brilliantly displayed against a green backdrop, the new exhibition consists of works from the Judith and Paul Falcigno collection.

     -The sketch is of the lovely vase (circa 1900) by M. Louise McLaughlin, with an entwined flower motif, on display in the Decorative Arts gallery.

     -In the summer of 2010, I put the Worcester Art Museum in contact with my friend and collector, Paul Falcigno. Paul was the owner of a large collection of 20th Century Japanese Prints, for which he was looking to find a permanent home. He was considering offers from other museums, but I thought WAM would be a good fit. Paul met with Asian Art Curator Louise Virgin, and promptly agreed. His generosity led to the gift of over 300 works of Art to the collection in late 2010. The gift included 94 works by Yoshida Toshi, giving WAM the distinction of owning one of the largest collections of works by the artist in the United States. In the past year alone, from 2013 to 2014, the prints given by Mr. Falcigno have been the subject of four exhibitions at the Worcester Art Museum: Silent Gardens, Looking West and Looking East, Five Works by Three Generations of Yoshida Family Artists and Stencil-dyed Japanese Folk Art Calendars. In June of last year, two months before Paul passed away at the age of 83, he and his wife, Judy (an old friend as well), visited WAM to see their collection in it's new home. Watching the proud expression on Paul's face upon seeing the works being enjoyed by museum visitors will always be one of the fondest memories of my time at the Worcester Art Museum. On that last visit, characteristic of his generous nature, Paul brought a Yoshida Toshi triptych along as a present for the occasion. Those three new artworks will join the hundreds of others he donated, entering the permanent collection later this year.

3rd Floor (West Gallery). Worcester Art Museum. by Travis Simpkins

PDP Gallery. Worcester Art Museum. by Travis Simpkins

Vase. Worcester Art Museum. by Travis Simpkins

Yoshida Toshi. Paul Falcigno gift. Worcester Art Museum