Triad Brilliant, Passaic River Hills

Current and Upcoming Exhibitions

Summer 2015

Recent Acquisitions
May 5–August 9, 2015

Mabel Dwight, "The Ocean, Coney Island," 1928, lithograph. Purchased with funds provided by Family and Friends in Honor of Barbara Palmer, 2014.8. Mabel Dwight, The Ocean, Coney Island, 1928, lithograph. Purchased with funds provided by Family and Friends in Honor of Barbara Palmer, 2014.8.

With this installment of Recent Acquisitions, the Palmer Museum of Art offers a selection of American and European prints that range more than four centuries in date. The earliest is a full-page woodcut, titled The Last Judgment, which was once bound in the Nuremberg Chronicle, published by Anton Koberger in 1493. Other Old Master prints include a posthumous portrait of the German printmaker Heinrich Aldegrever by Simon Frisius, one of Marcantonio Raimondi’s audacious engravings after Albrecht Dürer, and a woodcut depicting Christ carrying his cross from Sebald Beham’s 1521 Passion series. Two closely related views of pre-Haussmann Paris, representing distinct factions of the etching revival in France, complement a pair of intaglios of a Nova Scotia inn executed two years apart by American etching revivalist Stephen Parrish. A bit of humor is added to the exhibition with a couple of early nineteenth-century caricatures of the British royal family by Charles Williams and George Cruikshank and a lithograph depicting a crowded Coney Island beach drawn by Mabel Dwight in 1928.


Flora and Fauna
May 19–August 16, 2015

Pancrace Bessa, Hyacinthus Orientalis, c. 1816–22, watercolor on vellum. Presented in Memory of James Rea Maxwell Jr., 1921, 74.4.Pancrace Bessa, Hyacinthus Orientalis, c. 1816–22, watercolor on vellum. Presented in Memory of James Rea Maxwell Jr., 1921, 74.4.

Although the practice of illustrating natural history extends back several thousand years—Pliny the Elder tells us that the ancient Greeks regularly decorated their treatises on medicinal botanicals with drawings of key specimens—the precise rendition of flora and fauna dates only to the eighteenth century, when the codification of scientific methods begun in the previous century laid the foundation for increscently accurate imagery of the natural world.

Selected from the Palmer Museum of Art’s permanent collection as well as from two local private collections, this exhibition features some of the era’s most celebrated artists, from the floral specialists Pierre Joseph Redouté and Pancrace Bessa to John James Audubon, American naturalist extraordinaire, and his British counterpart, John Gould, whose Birds of Europe offered a creditable response to Audubon’s magnificent Birds of America. Also on view are numerous earlier examples of flora and fauna, including several sheets from an early sixteenth-century Flemish Book of Hours, lavishly decorated with readily identifiable flowers, birds, and insects; illustrations of imaginary animals from a seventeenth-century book on the Americas; and a page from Jacob Meydenbach’s 1491 Hortus Sanitatis, or Garden of Health, bearing woodcut vignettes of beasts and herbs that even in the fifteenth century were likely considered to be of dubious efficacy as curatives.


Luminous Allure: Studio Glass from the Collection of Audrey and Norbert Gaelen
June 23–August 16, 2015

Paul Schwieder, Cadmium Drop, 2004, blown and sandblasted glass. Gift of Audrey and Norbert Gaelen, 2013.41.

Audrey and Norbert (’47 Engineering) Gaelen have been acquiring studio glass for nearly a quarter of a century. Although passionate about collecting, they take equal delight in sharing their treasures with others. This summer, the Palmer will showcase fifty pieces of glass from the Gaelen collection, including several works recently gifted by the couple to the museum.

Among the artists represented in the Gaelen collection is the so-called “father” of the studio glass movement, Harvey Littleton, and arguably his most famous student, Dale Chihuly, who is represented by several works, including an extravagantly baroque “piccolo Venetian,” made in homage to the centuries-old Venetian glass tradition that proved so inspirational for the artist. Fittingly, Venetian master Lino Tagliapietra—another pioneering master of the medium—is represented by several spectacular works.

Objects of dazzling variety will be on view, among them the filet de verre (glass thread) bowls of Toots Zynsky; elegant paraphrases of ancient forms and motifs by Dante Marioni, Preston Singletary, and William Morris; and sensuous, multicolored vessels by Marvin Lipofsky, Stephen Rolfe Powell, and Deanna Clayton. The pursuit of glass as autonomous sculptural form will be amply evident in the work of Therman Statom, Howard Ben Tré, Mary Shaffer, Dorothy Hafner, and Kjell Engman.

Luminous Allure will highlight these and many other splendid pieces from the Gaelens’ outstanding private collection of studio glass. Visitors will no doubt delight in this impressive, shimmering array of unique works by early innovators in the field as well as prominent artists working in glass today.


Fall 2015

Mining the Store II: American Drawings and Watercolors from the Permanent Collection
August 25–December 13, 2015

Hiram Draper Williams, Untitled Illustration for a Film on Racial Segregation, c. 1950, pen and ink with wash and watercolor. Gift of Betty and Edward Mattil, 91.170.Hiram Draper Williams, Untitled Illustration for a Film on Racial Segregation, c. 1950, pen and ink with wash and watercolor. Gift of Betty and Edward Mattil, 91.170.

In a reprise of the idea behind last summer’s Mining the Store exhibition, the Palmer Museum of Art offers a selection of drawings and watercolors by American artists that, mostly because of their paper support, have not been on public view for quite awhile.

Some of the sheets, such as Earl Horter’s Cézanne-inspired view of a New England home, or a mid-1930s sketch of guerilla fighters by Chicago socialist Mitchell Siporin, contain imagery that likely will not astonish inveterate museumgoers. On the other hand, visitors may be surprised to discover that prior to establishing his position within the Fourteenth Street School, Reginald Marsh regularly drew images for the New Yorker, among them a dramatic review of Lon Chaney in the film The Phantom of the Opera; or that, in addition to supplying his legendary caricatures for the New York Review of Books, David Levine painted a series of delicate studies featuring laborers in the garment industry. Other works in the exhibition include a proto-Cubist drawing by Marguerite Zorach, an early watercolor by Philadelphia realist Martha Mayer Erlebacher, and a study of the Pont Neuf in Paris by American expatriate Frank Myers Boggs.


You Have to See This: Abstract Art from the Permanent Collection
September 1–December 6, 2015

Donald Judd, Untitled, 1968–69, woodcut in cadmium red, 69.7. Donald Judd, Untitled, 1968–69, woodcut in cadmium red, 69.7.

In the world of digital reproduction, it is increasingly difficult to understand the ways in which many works of art require direct viewing in order to be understood. This is especially true of abstract art, in which artists rely on color, surface texture, size, and orientation—all of which are almost impossible to capture through the humble JPEG—rather than representational subject matter. Compiled and researched by Penn State students under the direction of Dr. Sarah K. Rich, the exhibition brings together important abstract works on paper from the permanent collection in order to showcase the myriad ways in which abstract art can, through material and formal means, pose radical questions about the nature of imagery itself. 

Artists represented in the exhibition include Wassily Kandinsky, Morris Blackburn, Carlotta Corpron, Anne Ryan, Konrad Cramer, Aaron Siskind, Mark Tobey, Bridget Riley, Josef Albers, Adolph Gottlieb, Frank Stella, Donald Judd, Richard Anuszkiewicz, Gene Davis, Sol LeWitt, Helen Frankenthaler, Anni Albers, Norman Lewis, Janet Malcolm, Sam Gilliam, Ellsworth Kelly, Ruth Root, and James Nares.


Archipenko: A Modern Legacy
September 22–December 13, 2015

Archipenko: A Modern Legacy is a major retrospective of the life and work of Alexander Archipenko, a pioneering figure in the history of modern sculpture. Born in the Ukraine and active in European avant-garde circles in the early decades of the twentieth century, Archipenko revolutionized and reinvigorated sculpture by reintroducing color, incorporating negative space, and integrating mixed media. 

The exhibition spans Archipenko’s long career and will feature some fifty sculptures, mixed-media reliefs, and works on paper. Drawn from museum collections as well as private holdings, including the Frances Archipenko Gray Collection, the exceptional objects chosen for this exhibition convey the richness of Archipenko’s vision.

Building on his rich experience in Europe, Archipenko immigrated to the United States in 1923 and pursued a lifelong affair with the figurative form during his forty-year career in this country, where he continued to use the abstracted figure as a carrier for sculptural innovation. Carefully selected works, made in America, will offer new insight into Archipenko’s practice: he explored lead casting, electroplating, and polychrome patina; refined ceramic as sculptural medium, finding complex ways of treating its surface; experimented with reflective and shiny materials, including mirrors and mother-of-pearl; and introduced non-traditional art materials such as Plexiglas and Bakelite, all the while engaging creative tools from the past and the present to foster artistic innovation.
Never-before-exhibited objects from the artist’s archives, including annotated photographs of sculptures, sketches, installation views, patent drawings for his “Archipentura” machine, and lecture transcripts, will offer an unprecedented view into the artist’s creative process and philosophy.

Archipenko: A Modern Legacy was organized by International Arts & Artists, Washington, D.C., in collaboration with the Archipenko Foundation.


Spring 2016

Consciously Surreal: Photography, the Uncanny, and the Body
January 12–May 8, 2016

Championed as a medium capable of yielding unmediated copies of nature, photography is often believed to operate in the realm of the factual. The works on view in Consciously Surreal challenge this notion of photographic truth through the presentation of chance encounters, experimental techniques, and the fragmentation of the body.

From Dada to Dali: Surrealist Works on Paper
January 12–May 8, 2016

This exhibition has been organized in tandem with the April 2016 Center for the Performing Arts presentation of Daniele Finzi Pasca’s La Verità, a theatrical examination of the life and work of Salvador Dali. A wide variety of prints and drawings have been selected to represent the many manifestations of surrealism in Europe and America throughout the twentieth century.

Small Prints, Big Artists: Renaissance and Baroque Masterpieces from Carnegie Museum of Art

February 2–May 15, 2016

This exhibition presents more than 100 masterworks from Carnegie Museum of Art’s exceptional collection of nearly 9,000 prints, many of which have not been on view for decades. The intimately scaled woodcuts, engravings, and etchings reveal the development of printmaking in Europe as a true art form, from fifteenth-century German book illustrations through the innovations of Albrecht Dürer and Rembrandt van Rijn.


Previous Exhibitions

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