Now On View

  • Graphic for: Focus Exhibit: A Naval Officer's Albums: Travel Photography in the 19th-century

    Focus Exhibit: A Naval Officer's Albums: Travel Photography in the 19th-century

    July 7, 2014 — Sept. 15, 2014

    The Currier Museum of Art Reference Library and Archives presents a small scale exhibit of seven albums from the collection of Navy Rear Admiral Joseph Murdock (1851-1931). Admiral Murdock loaned several items to the Museum. Several years after his death heirs to Admiral Murdock donated his travel photography albums, along with several Japanese ceramics and textiles, to the Museum in 1951. Commercial photographs which were offered for sale to travelers and tourists dominate the albums with personal snapshots speckled throughout. 

    Nearly half of the photographs in the albums represent Japanese people and landscapes both "en plein air” and in staged studio settings and were taken by established photographers working in the region, including Kusakabe Kimbei (1841-1934) a student of Felice Beato (1825-1904) and several unknown photographers. Images from Scotland, Venice and Egypt are also on view. One image entitled "Ascent of the Great Pyramid" is believed to the work of famed French photographer Félix Bonfils. 

    Seven albums are on view along with assorted ephemera found tucked between the pages, including personal snapshots, postcards, correspondence and pressed flowers. Many of the photographs are excellent examples of the hand-coloring process popular during the period. 

    Learn more about the library and archives collections which are open to the public here.

  • Romare Bearden: A Black Odyssey

    March 29, 2014 — Aug. 17, 2014

    Romare Bearden’s works of art reflect universal experiences filtered through an African-American lens. In this exhibition, Bearden’s colorful collages and watercolors tell Homer’s ancient tale, The Odyssey. While the story of Odysseus has been told for more than 3,000 years, in Bearden’s vision, the brave Greek hero and all of the characters are black. Although the imagery is rooted in the African-American experience, the familiarity of these tales and the beauty of the images will remind viewers that each of us is on a personal odyssey.

    A second phase of the exhibition opened on May 24. It focuses on Bearden’s surprising connection to (and use of) the oldest object in the Currier’s collection, an 800-year old painting by the Follower of Meliore. Works by Bearden’s contemporaries, Charles Alston and Jacob Lawrence will also be on view, along with the newly acquired Train Whistle Blues, a watercolor that Bearden created around 1979.

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    Exhibition Support

    The Currier's presentation of Romare Bearden: A Black Odyssey is organized by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service in coordination with the Romare Bearden Foundation and Estate and DC Moore Gallery. The exhibition and its related educational resources are supported by a grant from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation. The Currier's presentation of Romare Bearden: A Black Odyssey is sponsored by Hitchiner Manufacturing Co., Inc., with additional support from Optima Bank. Individual support from Dwight & Susi Churchill and Wilton Consulting Group, LLC.

    Image credits: All images Art © Romare Bearden Foundation/Licensed by VAGA, New York. Home To Ithaca, 1977, Collage, Courtesy Mount Holyoke College Art Museum, South Hadley, Massachusetts. Gift of the estate of Eileen Paradis Barber (Class of 1929); Circe, 1977, Collage, Courtesy Estate of Nanette Bearden and DC Moore Gallery, New York.


  • Dutch and Flemish Masterworks from the Rose-Marie and Eijk van Otterloo Collection

    Sept. 1, 2013 — Sept. 1, 2014

    The Currier Museum of Art presents five Dutch and Flemish masterworks loaned from the Rose-Marie and Eijk van Otterloo collection. The Van Otterloo Collection recently drew large crowds as it toured the Netherlands and the U.S, opening at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA, then traveling to Houston and San Francisco and then briefly at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. The works loaned to the Currier have been acquired since that international tour, and have not been exhibited previously in the U.S.  The paintings mark defining moments in each artist’s career.

    The Crucifixion by Peter Paul Rubens (about 1618), the first Rubens to be shown at the Currier in the museum’s history, is a powerful, moving depiction of the moment of Jesus’ death.

    There are also exquisitely detailed floral still-life paintings by Jacob van Walscapelle (about 1679) and Jan van Huysum (about 1730). A comic genre painting by Jan Steen, The Cardplayers (about 1660), is full of intrigue and underhanded activity. A lively mythological composition painted with jewel-like surfaces by Joachim Wtewael (1598) is almost miniature in scale.

    Images: Jan van Huysum, Dutch (1682 - 1749), Flowers in a Terracotta Vase,c. 1730, The Rose-Marie and Eijk van Otterloo Collection; Jacob van Walscapelle, Dutch (1644 - 1727), Still Life of Flowers with a Branch of Peaches, c 1679, The Rose-Marie and Eijk van Otterloo Collection