Triad Brilliant, Passaic River Hills

Current and Upcoming Exhibitions

Spring 2015

Hidden Mother
January 6–April 26, 2015

Unknown photographer, "Veiled Mother with Child," c. 1870, tintype. Gift of Susan Herzig and Paul Hertzmann, Paul M. Hertzmann, Inc., San Francisco, 99.69.Unknown photographer, Veiled Mother with Child, c. 1870, tintype. Gift of Susan Herzig and Paul Hertzmann, Paul M. Hertzmann, Inc., San Francisco, 99.69.


Hidden Mother presents a survey of the nineteenth-century child portraits known as “hidden mother” photographs. Emerging in recent years as popular collectibles, these images still remain largely unknown to photo experts and the general public alike. In introducing this vernacular form, Hidden Mother contributes to the expanding awareness of the historically pervasive role of artifice in the medium that “never lies,” while illuminating the powerful resonance that these obscure, nineteenth-century pictures hold for timeless concerns of motherhood.

Nineteenth-century portrait photographers turned to a number of different devices—from pedestals to pincer-like braces—to stabilize the body for the long exposures required to make a portrait. But these methods often were not suitable for the small, unruly body of a child. Instead, the photographer enlisted the mother, who, hidden by studio props, supported or soothed her offspring. These photographs range from the comic, almost slapstick, barring of the mother to more macabre examples of her literal erasure. A practical strategy deployed by the photographer unintentionally yielded an evocative representation of the mother in absentia; never meant to be seen, her presence nonetheless haunts these images.

Hidden Mother affords a comprehensive overview of this fascinating practice as it appears in a range of early photographic media, including tintypes, cartes-de-visite, cabinet cards, and other forms of paper printing. Many of the photographs on view are drawn from the private collection of Lee Marks and John C. DePrez Jr. The exhibition was curated by Laura Larson.


Song of Myself
January 13–May 10, 2015

Ann Hamilton, "flectere," 2000, Iris print. Gift of Sue Patterson, 2012.49.Ann Hamilton, flectere, 2000, Iris Print. Gift of Sue Patterson, 2012.49.


I celebrate myself, and sing myself,
And what I assume you shall assume,
For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.
Walt Whitman, “Song of Myself”

In the land of the free and home of the brave, it takes bravery to consider    
everyone else’s freedom as well as your own.      
Susan Russell, 2014–15 Penn State Laureate

This exhibition draws inspiration and takes its title from poet Walt Whitman’s celebratory paean to American democracy. Whitman’s free-verse poem was published in 1855 (initially without its melodious title) as part of the author’s famed Leaves of Grass. Characterized as nonconformist, egotistical, democratic, and uniquely American, the lengthy poem proffers an optimistic, expansive vision of a world where human bonds unite individuals and not “ a single person [is] slighted or left away.” 

Song of Myself brings together a rich selection of work by many of the individual voices that have contributed to the increasingly pluralistic, culturally heterogeneous art world of the last two decades. Drawn from the permanent collection, the exhibition features works on paper by Laylah Ali, Rina Banerjee, Chakaia Booker, Michael Ray Charles, Ann Hamilton, Rashid Johnson, Glenn Ligon, Hung Liu, Yasumasa Morimura, Tom Nakashima, Shirin Neshat, Faith Ringgold, Juan Sanchez, Shinique Smith, and Kara Walker, among others.
Ann Hamilton, flectere, 2000, Iris print. Gift of Sue Patterson, 2012.49.


Francisco Goya: Los Caprichos
February 3–May 10, 2015

Francisco Goya, "Francisco Goya y Lucientes, Pintor," plate 1 from "Los Caprichos," 1799, etching, aquatint, drypoint, and engraving. Courtesy Landau Traveling Exhibitions.  Francisco Goya, Francisco Goya y Lucientes, Pintor, plate 1 from Los Caprichos, 1799, etching, aquatint, drypoint, and engraving. Courtesy Landau Traveling Exhibitions.


On February 6, 1799, an advertisement appeared in the Diario de Madrid announcing “a series of prints of capricious subjects invented by Don Francisco Goya.” The notice then goes on to explain that the artist “has chosen as appropriate subjects for his work, among the multitude of extravagances and follies which are common throughout civilized society, and among vulgar prejudices and frauds rooted in custom, ignorance, or interest.” Influenced by the Enlightenment, Goya intended Los Caprichos, as the album of eighty etchings came to be known, as a means of exposing the social, political, and religious abuses and superstitions that had for too long paralyzed Spain. Employing a cast of goblins, monks, aristocrats, procuresses, prostitutes, and animals acting like fools, the prints address a variety of themes that perpetuated the forces of oppression and ignorance in the artist’s country, from the Spanish Inquisition and the corruption of the church and nobility to witchcraft, avarice, and social frivolity.

For Goya personally, Los Caprichos was a financial disaster. In the four years that it was on the market, only 27 of the 300 sets were sold. Deeply in debt, Goya was obliged in 1803 to donate the plates, together with the remaining portion of the edition, to the Crown in order to secure a pension for his sole surviving son, Javier. Today the album stands, along with the writings of Cervantes and the paintings of Velázquez, as one of the foremost cultural contributions in Spanish history.

This exhibition features a superb early first edition set of the etchings, one of four acquired directly from Goya by the Duke and Duchess of Osuna in early 1799, several weeks before the subscription announcement in Diario de Madrid. Also included are examples from Goya’s other print series, and several reflections on the Caprichos by American artists Edward Hagedorn and Enrique Chagoya.

Francisco Goya: Los Caprichos was organized by Landau Traveling Exhibitions, Los Angeles, in association with Denenberg Fine Art, West Hollywood, California.


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 over four centuries in date, from a woodcut of the Last Judgment that was once bound in the late fifteenth-century Nuremburg Chronicle, to a lithograph depicting a crowded Coney Island beach drawn by Mabel Dwight in 1928.




Flora and Fauna
May 19–August 16, 2015

John T. Bowen after John Woodhouse Audubon, "Felis Concolor," 1846, plate 96 from "The Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America," lithograph with hand coloring. Partial gift and purchase from John C. O’Connor and Ralph M. Yeager, 86.706.John T. Bowen after John Woodhouse Audubon, Felis Concolor, 1846, plate 96 from The Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America, lithograph with hand coloring. Partial gift and purchase from John C. O'Connor and Ralph M. Yeager, 86.706.

The terms flora and fauna traditionally refer to the plant and animal life of a particular region. Here they are applied to a selection of prints and drawings, selected from the museum’s permanent collection, that feature such objects from nature as a key component of their imagery. Works in the exhibition range from fifteenth-century manuscript illuminations to watercolors by contemporary American artists.





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

This exhibition will feature approximately forty-five pieces of studio glass drawn from the collection of Norbert (’47 Engineering) and Audrey Gaelen. Among those represented in the exhibition will be Dale Chihuly, Joey Kirkpatrick and Flora C. Mace, Marvin Lipofsky, Harvey K. Littleton, Dante Marioni, William Morris, Preston Singletary, Lino Tagliapietra, and Toots Zynsky.


Fall 2015

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

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

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

Archipenko: A Modern Legacy is being organized by International Arts & Artists, Washington, D.C., in collaboration with the Frances Archipenko Gray Collection and the Archipenko Foundation.


Previous Exhibitions

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