Artists and Friends

Old College Gallery
February 10-May 15, 2016

How do we tell the story of the art collections at the University of Delaware? The first work acquired by UD was Delaware Awake!, painted by Ethel Pennewill Brown (later to become Brown Leach) in response to a call in 1917 by the  Women’s Liberty Loan Campaign, which had been established to raise funds to support World War I.   To this end, the Campaign solicited from Wilmington artists designs for posters, to be auctioned at the Hotel du Pont.  The Women’s Committee took up a subscription to purchase Delaware Awake! with the intention of gifting it to the Women’s College of the University of Delaware.  It was presented in a ceremony on May 13, 1918, when the women students were assembled for morning chapel.  That same year, the Women’s College saw its first graduating class.

Frank Schoonover, With the Winter Mail (Up dere de Ghost Riviere meet de Albany), 1913. Oil on canvas. Gift of Judge Hugh Martin Morris. © University Museums, the artists, or their representatives
Frank Schoonover, With the Winter Mail (Up dere de Ghost Riviere meet de Albany), 1913. Oil on canvas. Gift of Judge Hugh Martin Morris. © University Museums, the artists, or their representatives

Provenance – the history of ownership of a painting – can imbue it with a special – almost personal – meaning.   As gifts by generous donors from 1917 onward, the works in Artists and Friends tell a story of relationships.  Many of the donors’ names are familiar to us, and many of their gifts were works by artists active in and around Wilmington, from Howard Pyle to Frank E. Schoonover.  An important gift from the Estate of Ellen Wheelwright du Pont ranged more widely, bringing to the collection sculptures by Aristide Maillol and William Zorach, a late 17th century English portrait of a woman formerly attributed to Peter Lely, as well as a harbor scene by the early twentieth century artist Jonas Lie.  More recently, a donor made possible the purchase of Srebrenica by Emeritus Professor of Art, Stephen Tanis.

Our collection is also indebted to the friendship of artists and that of their families, as illustrated by our collection of sculptures and drawings by William Zorach, and a painting by Jon Redmond. Other friends include the conservators and students in the Winterthur/University of Delaware Program in Art Conservation, who have treated many works in the collection, including two drawings by William Zorach, exhibited here for the first time.

Banner image: Stephen Tanis, Srebrenica, 2005. Oil on linen. Purchase, University Museums Acquisitions Fund. © University Museums, the artists, or their representatives

PROGRAMMING:

Tuesday, February 16, 6-7:30 p.m.
Opening Reception for Artists and Friends and
Artists’ Machines
Old College and Mechanical Hall Galleries open 4-8 p.m. Drop by early to see the exhibitions.
RSVP: universitymuseums@udel.edu and (302) 831-8037
Old College Gallery

Thursday, February 25, 12:30-1:15 p.m.
Perspective on
Artists and Friends
“What makes the University collection unique?”
Janis Tomlinson, Director, University Museums
Old College Gallery

Wednesday, May 18, 5-7 p.m.
Open House

Old College and Mechanical Hall Galleries

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