Artist Mateo Romero with a work of his recently added to the collection.
Mateo Romero talking with Dartmouth students in the Hood galleries.
“Photography isn’t the first thing you associate with Dartmouth College. But two of America’s finest living photographers are alumni (Joel Sternfeld and James Nachtwey), and shortly before he died Walker Evans was an artist in residence there. So it makes perfect sense that Dartmouth’s Hood Museum of Art, Hanover, N.H., should have an impressive photography collection.”
—Boston Globe, “10 Reasons to Get Out,” February 1, 2009, in response to the exhibition Focus on Photography: Works from 1950 to Today
The Hood Museum of Art’s collections are rich, diverse, and available for the use of both College and the broader community. Numbering some 65,000 objects, the collections present art from ancient cultures, the Americas, Europe, Africa, Papua New Guinea, the Arctic, and many other regions. This year, the Hood’s collections grew by 329 objects through gifts and purchases.
At the Hood Museum of Art, collections are at the core of our activities. One of the most rewarding ways in which donors and curators can provide a legacy for future visitors to the museum is to gift or acquire new works of art to strengthen the museum’s holdings. The Hood director, Brian Kennedy, and the curators’ approach to acquisitions centers on expanding the reach of our collections and also complementing works the museum already owns. How a work of art will enhance curricular teaching is always a guiding principle when they consider a potential acquisition.
This year has been a significant one in the area of contemporary art acquisitions. Highlights include the large and striking photograph by American artist Renée Cox, Baby Back, which was a signature image at the entrance to the exhibition Black Womanhood: Images, Icons, and Ideologies of the African Body, and Accent Elimination, a new media work by the artist Nina Katchadourian, which consists of six TVs with videos of the artist and her parents. Other contemporary artists whose work has been added to the collection include Sudanese/French artist Hassan Musa, German artist Sigmar Polke, Native American artists Dwayne Wilcox (whose contemporary take on native ledger drawings draws on humor and irony), T. C. Cannon, and Mateo Romero, Cuban/American María Magdalena Compos-Pons, Columbian artist Amparo Carvajal-Hufschmid, Spanish artists Félix de la Concha and Daniel Beltrá, Australian Torres Strait artist Alick Tipoti, Indian artist Subhankar Banerjee, and American artists Virginia Beahan, Hannes Beckmann, John Chamberlain, Walton Ford, John Gibson, Louise Hamlin, Susan Hauptman Elizabeth King, Joshua Lutz, Michael Mazur, Ben Moss, Olivia Parker, Robert Rauschenberg, Andres Serrano, Aaron Siskind, and many others. The museum is also committed to our local partners and has acquired this year’s print portfolio from Two Rivers Printmaking Studio, White River Junction, Vermont, in which many of our regional artists are represented, as well as two etchings that were printed at Wingate Studio in Hinsdale, New Hampshire.
This past year, the museum organized an exhibition of Native American baskets, which included works from its own collection, the Abbe Museum in Bar Harbor, Maine, the Boston Children’s Museum, and from contemporary Maine artists, who are continuing a strong and vibrant tradition as well as creating new, dynamic forms. The museum took this opportunity to acquire twenty contemporary baskets, further strengthening its Native American holdings in this medium. In the area of traditional Native American art, the museum was the recipient of ten ledger drawings, three of which were gifts from Mark Lansburgh, Class of 1949. These works join the museum’s significant Native American ledger drawing collection, which has been acquired primarily by gift and purchase from Lansburgh. In fall 2010, his collection will be celebrated in an exhibition, held in conjunction with a Dartmouth College Humanities Institute that will invite scholars that term to discuss Native American ledger art. Other major acquisitions of Native American art include an important Eastern Sioux vest given by Hood Board member Steven A. Lister, Class of 1963, and the purchase of a magnificent Sioux pictorial Buffalo robe, Iroquois beaded pouch, Haida ship pipe, Blackfoot beaded and fringed hide man’s shirt, Kiowa peyote box, mid-19th-century Delaware Bandolier bag, Osage cradle board, and a rare Lakota painted muslin tipi liner from the early twentieth century.
The museum also made important acquisitions of European and American Art, including a French history painting from 1767 by Nicolas René Jollain of the Roman general Belisarius. In the painting, the general is shown in reduced circumstances, forced to beg for alms in order to survive. This subject, which would later be adopted by the neo-classical artist Jacques Louis David, became popular in the years leading up to the French Revolution. Its story contains an implicit criticism of a government that does not honor its heroes, and it was through these references to republican Rome that artists and playwrights made veiled attacks on the French monarchy. Other European acquisitions include an artist’s self-portrait by the Belgian painter François-Joseph Navez, four prints by the Dutch master engraver Hendrik Goltzius, a rare and beautiful eighteenth-century mezzotint titled A Tigress, portfolios of eighteenth-century printmakers Francesco Bartolozzi and Gavin Hamilton, as well as a generous gift of modern prints by Giorgio Morandi, Auguste Rodin, and Georges Braque. The Hood Museum of Art collection has the entire Vollard Suite of one hundred prints by Pablo Picasso from the 1930s, and as a complement to this series has also acquired his Dream and Lie of Franco. Produced in early 1937, this portfolio contains two large format prints that were created to benefit the Spanish Republican cause and also as a targeted satire on the fascist Spanish dictator. The last four frames of the cartoon-strip style prints relate to his famous mural size painting Guernica, which he completed in June of the same year. In the area of American acquisitions, the curator Barbara MacAdam has been selectively developing the museum’s decorative arts collection with the addition of fine glassware and ceramics. The museum also benefited immensely from a gift from the late Frank Stetz, who made a bequest of American genre and still life painting as well as funds for acquisitions and conservation of American art. Other gifts of American art include a fine pair of portraits attributed to early nineteenth-century portrait painter Ethan Allen Greenwood, Dartmouth Class of 1806, and two prints by Selman Gubin, as well as purchases of four varied impressions of a print by Arthur Wesley Dow, a set of eight Buffalo Bill cabinet photographs (possibly by a European photographer), each portraying participants in his Wild West show, photographs by Margaret Bourke White and Eugene Smith, and an albumen print by Timothy O’Sullivan of Civil War dead at Gettysburg.
In other culture areas, the museum was again the recipient of a generous grant from the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation to purchase three Japanese prints by the eighteenth-century artists Suzuki Harunobu and (attributed to) Nishimura Shigenaga and twentieth-century printmaker One Ito Shinsui. The museum has worked with Associate Professor Allen Hockley and the Carpenter Foundation to build a representative teaching collection of works from this culture’s remarkable tradition of woodblock prints. In addition, the museum added a marvelous print by Utagawa Kuniyoshi to its nineteenth-century print holdings in this area and a Japanese ambrotype from the late nineteenth century by Masumi Hori II. Other acquisitions of note include a dramatic African mask made by a Kuba artist from the Democratic Republic of Congo, which is featured in this year’s Gutman Gallery exhibition Art that Lives: Exploring Figural Art from Africa. Another work in this exhibition is a polychrome wood sculpture of a mother and two children by a Baule artist from the Ivory Coast in Africa, a gift from Steve Humble, Winchester, Kentucky.
All in all it has been another rich year for acquisitions, and the Hood Museum of Art is grateful to its donors and to the patrons and supporters who have established acquisition endowments that have enabled us to continue to enhance the museum’s reputation with significant additions to its collections and pursue works whose value to our teaching mission is inestimable.
This year, the Hood lent 25 objects to exhibitions throughout the United States and in Europe. Hood objects were seen by more than 822,000 visitors to museums worldwide.
The Hood conserved 12 art objects this year.
Last Updated: 12/21/09