The Stebbins Collection exhibition at the Morse Museum
The exhibition “The Stebbins Collection: A Gift for the Morse Museum” opens on November 9. 2021. It introduces to the public for the first time a previously held private collection of 70 works of art by 53 artists.
Morse’s fall exhibition
The Morse’s fall exhibition The Stebbins Collection: A Gift for the Morse Museum opens on November 9. The exhibition showcases the exquisite collection assembled by Theodore E. Stebbins Jr. and Susan Craig Stebbins over the course of fifty-five years. As announced in March of this year, the Stebbinses have given sixty-five works and have lent an additional five.
The Stebbins Collection
Curated by Morse Curator of American Painting, Dr. Regina Palm, this exhibition debuts these works of American art as part of the Morse collection, introducing them to the public for the first time. The Stebbins Collection: A Gift for the Morse Museum consists of seventy paintings, works on paper, and sculpture by fifty-three artists across three museum galleries.
The exhibition has been organized much in the same way the works were presented in the Stebbinses’ home. Rather than being arranged chronologically, by genre, or by medium, the works are instead presented in thematic groupings and thoughtful juxtapositions.
Dr. Palm said, “The truly wonderful thing about this exhibition is that it celebrates not only artists of great renown, but also artists who, while perhaps less known today, excelled in their fields. In fact, they matched—if not surpassed—their contemporaries, whose names are more familiar. A gift such as the Stebbins Collection enables the Morse Museum to build upon and expand the visual narrative told within its galleries—bringing new insights and many surprises.”
The first gallery serves as an introduction to the Stebbinses’ gift, highlighting the breadth of the collection. It includes seminal works by floral painters George Cochran Lambdin (1830–96), whose 1874 painting Calla Lilies takes center stage, alongside the work of Fidelia Bridges (1834–1923), and Martin Johnson Heade (1819–1904). Thomas Eakins’s sculpture in relief Arcadia, 1883, enriches the space along with luminous landscapes by Thomas Moran.
The final gallery displays the work of still-life artists who range from some of the best known in American art like John La Farge (1835–1910) and Joseph Decker (1853–1924) to some little-known like William Oscar Roelecke (1833–1910) and James Cafferty (1819–69).
Apple Blossoms and Field Flowers
La Farge’s Apple Blossoms and Field Flowers, c. 1870, is a poetic interpretation visually told through the soft-focus lens of the Impressionists while demonstrating the artist’s admiration of Japanese art through its flattened perspective.
Vegetables on a White Tablecloth, 1889, a rare example of a vegetable still life, by Roelecke is a striking composition in which the artist drew upon the Spanish tradition of the bodegón, positioning the humblest of kitchen staples as subjects worthy of still life, dramatically lit upon a crisp tablecloth.
1886, offers to viewers a profusion of luscious fruits so exquisitely rendered as to almost convince that they can be plucked from the painting. Meanwhile, Cafferty’s Citrus Fruits, c. 1850s, with its impossibly perfect lemons, tangerines, and the like, is remarkably modern in its execution.
Suggesting future stylistic shifts still to come in still life. Interspersed with these bountiful representations of fruits and flora are landscapes and seascapes, demonstrating the artistic range of artists like Henry Roderick Newman.
“The Morse presents this exhibition of the Stebbins Collection, a tremendously generous gift of exquisite works of art bearing intellectual understanding, historical perspective, visual sensitivity, and fine sensibility. To our community with great pride and enthusiasm along with the confidence that everyone who visits will have a rich and rewarding experience,” says Dr. Laurence Ruggiero, the Morse Museum’s Director.
Museum hours from November through April are 9:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday; 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday and Saturday; and l p.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. Regular admission is $6 for adults, $5 for seniors, $1 for students, and free for children under 12. All visitors receive free admission from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Fridays from November through April. Appointments may now be made in advance by visiting admissions. For more information about the Morse, please visit morsemuseum.org.
The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art was founded in 1942 by Jeannette G. Hugh F. McKean (1908–95), the Museum’s Director until his death.
The Morse is home to the world’s most comprehensive collection of works. Highlighting American designer and artist Louis Comfort Tiffany (1848–1933). Including the chapel interior he designed for the 1893 World’s Colombian Exposition in Chicago. And art and architectural objects from his celebrated Long Island home, Laurelton Hall.
American art pottery
The Museum’s holdings also include American art pottery. Late 19th- and early 20th-century American paintings, graphics, and decorative art. The Museum is owned and operated by the Charles Hosmer Morse Foundation and receives additional support from the Elizabeth Morse Genius Foundation. It receives no public funds.
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