Monday, January 5, 2015

Research: Worcester Art Museum "Then and Now" by Travis Simpkins. Update #35

     Chief Conservator Rita Albertson expressed an interest in compiling information about the different areas in the Worcester Art Museum where William Hogarth's 1744 portraits of "Mr. and Mrs. William James" hung after being purchased from a London dealer in 1909. I tracked the paintings through some locations, over the course of a Century, from the third floor down to the second and back up to the third.

-1910: In what was likely their first stop, the newly-purchased Hogarth portraits were placed in the third floor's West Gallery, seen hanging on either side of a large landscape at center. Note the eclectic mix of British, Flemish and American Art placed alongside one another. Today, this area is the American Decorative Arts Gallery.
-1920: With the completion of the first building addition to WAM, the pendant portraits were moved down half a level into one of the new galleries, again flanking a landscape painting. Today, this area is part of the Early American Galleries.
-1933: The newly-constructed Renaissance Court provided ample gallery space for the collection to spread out. The Hogarth paintings would have been placed in the circled area consisting of "European Art XVIII Century" in the second floor galleries. Note this gallery suite was not strictly European Art at the time, with Gallery 201 dedicated to local "Early American Art of Worcester County." Prior to the 1930's, WAM collections were still largely arranged by time period. Closer to World War II, the pieces tended to be sorted out into National origin more frequently.
-2008: For the majority of their time at WAM, the Hogarth portraits resided in Gallery 205, placed alongside other British Art of the period.
-2014: Conservators Rita Albertson, Birgit Straele and Phil Klausmeyer point out elements of the restoration process in the 3rd Floor Conservation lab.
-Present: The fully-cleaned and treated portraits of "Mr. and Mrs. William James" by William Hogarth are on display in the 3rd Floor Jeppson Idea Lab, about 10 metres away from their first 1910 spot in the West Gallery.

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

3rd Floor Galleries. Worcester Art Museum. by Travis Simpkins

2nd Floor Galleries, 1933. Worcester Art Museum. by Travis Simpkins

European Galleries. Worcester Art Museum. by Travis Simpkins

Hogarth Portraits. Conservation. Worcester Art Museum

Hogarth Portraits. Worcester Art Museum. by Travis Simpkins