Expanded Crocker Art Museum inaugurates new galleries with special exhibitions

Wayne Thiebaud, "Pies, Pies, Pies," 1961.  Oil on canvas, 20 x 30 in (50.8 x 76.2 cm).  Art © Wayne Thiebaud/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY
Wayne Thiebaud, "Pies, Pies, Pies," 1961. Oil on canvas, 20 x 30 in (50.8 x 76.2 cm). Art © Wayne Thiebaud/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY
((Photo via Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento, Calif.) Reproduction of this image, including downloading, is prohibited without writ)

This fall the Crocker Art Museum, in Sacramento, California, will celebrate the opening of its 125,000-square-foot expansion, designed by Charles Gwathmey, with a retrospective of the work of Sacramento native Wayne Thiebaud.

On view beginning October 10, 2010, Wayne Thiebaud: Homecoming is one of a series of special exhibitions that will inaugurate the galleries in the Crocker’s new Teel Family Pavilion. Featuring more than 50 paintings and drawings spanning the artist’s career, Wayne Thiebaud celebrates the work of Sacramento’s most renowned artist. 

The opening exhibition program also includes: A Pioneering Collection: Master Drawings from the Crocker Art Museum, an exhibition drawn from one of the finest early collections of master drawings in the United States; and Tomorrow’s Legacies: Gifts Celebrating the Next 125 Years, a diverse display of 125 promised gifts to the Crocker, including Tang Dynasty sculpture, French Barbizon paintings, American Impressionism, and contemporary California art.

“To celebrate the opening of the new Crocker, we’ve organized a series of exhibitions that embrace our history and look toward our future,” said Lial Jones, The Mort and Marcy Friedman Director of the Crocker Art Museum. “Our opening program encompasses longstanding collecting areas, including master drawings and ceramics, and also debuts new collections that have come to the Crocker through the generous support of our donors. We’re especially thrilled to be presenting a survey of the work of Wayne Thiebaud, an extraordinary artist and longtime friend of the museum.”

“For years, we have been strategically expanding our collection in anticipation of the additional capacity the Teel Family Pavilion will provide,” said Chief Curator and Associate Director Scott A. Shields. “Beginning in October, we will have the opportunity to share our rich and diverse holdings and new acquisitions with the public. In addition to the special exhibitions we’ve organized for our opening, we will unveil the largest survey of California art on view in any institution, and visitors will have the chance to experience exciting new collecting areas, including African and Oceanic art, in our permanent collection galleries.”

Wayne Thiebaud: Homecoming
October 10, 2010 to November 28, 2010
This new exhibition is a homecoming for both the artist and the Crocker Art Museum. In 1951, the Crocker presented Thiebaud’s first solo exhibition, Influences on a Young Painter. The Museum’s current major retrospective, featuring approximately 50 paintings and drawings, spans the entirety of Thiebaud’s career from the artist’s early works to new paintings created in 2010. Organized by Thiebaud and Crocker Chief Curator Scott A. Shields, and drawn in part from the traveling exhibition Wayne Thiebaud: 70 Years of Painting, the Crocker exhibition will include many works not previously displayed, with special attention given to Sacramento places and personalities.

Wayne Thiebaud: Homecoming includes iconic edibles—work that linked high art with popular culture—alongside pieces that showcase Thiebaud’s skill in rendering the human figure and the California landscape. Among the latter are river-delta views from the Sacramento area, cityscapes from San Francisco, and beach scenes from Southern California. The works attest to the artist’s ability to sensuously manipulate pigment and capture clear light and vibrant color, demonstrating Thiebaud’s technical virtuosity and tongue-in-cheek humor. Additional works by Thiebaud will also be on view in the Crocker’s permanent collection galleries as well as in the exhibition Tomorrow’s Legacies: Gifts Celebrating the Next 125 Years.

A Pioneering Collection:
Master Drawings from the Crocker Art Museum
October 10, 2010 to February 6, 2011
The Crocker Art Museum holds one of the finest early collections of master drawings in the United States, purchased for the most part in 1869–71 by the Museum’s founders, E. B. and Margaret Crocker. A Pioneering Collection explores the beauty, quality and scholarly importance of the collection with 56 drawings, including works by Albrecht Dürer, Fra Bartolommeo, Anthonie van Dyck and Jean-Honoré Fragonard. New acquisitions and new discoveries are also featured. The exhibition opens in conjunction with the Museum’s new Anne and Malcolm McHenry Works on Paper Study Center, and was organized by Crocker curator William Breazeale, who is the lead author for the exhibition catalogue. The exhibition features many notable works, including:

Albrecht Dürer’s Female Nude with a Staff, drawn by the greatest German artist of the Renaissance in 1498, soon after his return from Italy; The Meeting of the Doge and Pope at Ancona by the gifted Venetian Renaissance painter Vittore Carpaccio, the only surviving compositional drawing for a lost mural painting in the city’s Palazzo Ducale; Two Clerics by Peter Lely, one of a series of 31 drawings depicting a Procession of the Order of the Garter by the greatest portraitist working in 17th-century England; The Actor Brochard in Costume, one of the earliest surviving portraits by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, made before he achieved fame in that genre

Tomorrow’s Legacies: Gifts Celebrating the Next 125 Years
October 10, 2010 to January 9, 2011
Looking toward the future of its collection, this opening exhibition features 125 gifts that have been promised to the Crocker in celebration of its expansion and 125th anniversary. Given by donors throughout California and across the United States, the works include sculpture, painting, works on paper, ceramics, and photography spanning the history of material culture worldwide. All of these works will one day become part of the Crocker’s permanent collection. Among the works in the exhibition are:

Viola Frey, Standing Man, 2000. Stoneware, 101 x 33 x 22 in. Promised gift of Mort and Marcy Friedman. Amedeo Modigliani, Nude, n.d. Blue and red crayon on beige wove paper, 10 3/8 x 13 1/8 in. Promised gift of the Elkus Family in memory of Ben Britton Elkus; China, Tang Dynasty (618 - 907 CE), Courtiers on Horseback, n.d. Earthenware, each approximately 14 1/4 x 13 3/4 x 5 in. Promised gift from the Loet Vanderveen Collection; Robert Mapplethorpe, Tulips in a Box, 1983. Gelatin silver print, 20 x 16 in. Promised gift of Jon Stevenson and John Silici; John Twachtman, Artist’s Home, Greenwich, Connecticut, ca. 1890. Oil on canvas, 15 1/2 x 18 7/8 in. Promised gift of Dorothy and Norm Lien; Theodore Butler, Train in Flood, 1910.  Oil on canvas, 26 x 31 1/2 in. Promised gift of Anne and Malcolm McHenryZulu Peoples, South Africa, Wooden Staff with Maternity Figure, 1880s.  Wood with pigment, 38 x 1 1/2 x 1 1/2 in. Promised gift of Rhea and Dan Brunner 

Teel Family Pavilion
The 125,000-square-foot Teel Family Pavilion, designed by Gwathmey Siegel & Associates Architects, will more than triple the size of the Crocker Art Museum, adding four times the space for traveling exhibitions and three times the space for the Museum to showcase its permanent collection. The new building will expand the Crocker Art Museum’s ability to originate and present traveling exhibitions and educational programs, exhibit significantly more of its growing collection, and enhance its role as a cultural resource for California and the state’s many visitors. The expansion was designed to establish a new architectural icon for the Museum and Sacramento, and to complement the Museum’s original Victorian Italianate Art Gallery building and engage with the surrounding cityscape.

Crocker Art Museum History
Judge Edwin B. and Margaret Crocker commissioned the construction of a Victorian-Italianate building to serve as a gallery for their art collection in 1869, a year before the founding of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Boston Museum of Fine Art, and a decade before the founding the Art Institute of Chicago. The Crocker Art Gallery was one of the first purpose-built art museums in the United States. In 1885, Margaret Crocker gave both the building and collection to the city to create a center of culture for the state of California.

The Crocker Art Museum is located at 216 O Street in Downtown Sacramento. The Museum is closed to the public for renovation through October 9, 2010. For more information, please call (916) 808-7000 or visit crockerartmuseum.org.

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