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Letter from the Director: Spring 2013

Hood Quarterly, spring 2013
Michael R. Taylor, Director

The contents of this issue of the Hood Quarterly showcase the profound impact that experiences in the visual arts at Dartmouth College and the Hood Museum of Art have had on undergraduate students. As Joseph Barker, Dartmouth Class of 1966, recalls, “It was probably sometime in my junior year at Dartmouth, sitting in an art history class . . . that I first became acquainted with Japanese woodblock prints.” That spark turned into a lifelong passion for collecting and studying these works. The stunning collection that he, along with his wife, Judith Liff Barker, has now made a promised gift to the Hood Museum of Art fills a lavish spring/summer exhibition titled The Women of Shin Hanga: The Judith and Joseph Barker Collection of Japanese Prints. Curator Allen Hockley, Associate Professor of Art History at Dartmouth College, also edited the sumptuously illustrated catalogue that accompanies the exhibition, which presents new scholarship and unique insights into the history and technical accomplishment of these magnificent woodblock prints. We wholeheartedly thank Judith and Joseph Barker for their generosity and commitment to sharing their collection with Dartmouth’s students and faculty, as well as all visitors to the Hood Museum of Art, both now and in the future.

Adolph “Bucks” Weil Jr., Dartmouth Class of 1935, shared his own passion for European old master prints—which was cultivated during his time at Dartmouth—with a transformative gift of works on paper to the Hood Museum of Art in 1991. His wife, Jean Weil, added additional prints by Rembrandt, Lucas van Leyden, Albrecht Dürer, and many others to that gift in his memory after his death in 1995. We mourn her passing in August 2012; she and Bucks were the greatest of friends to the Hood Museum of Art, and we are honored that their daughter Laurie Weil serves on the Hood’s Board of Overseers. The museum is now thrilled to receive Rembrandt’s The Three Trees (1643) and Dürer’s Saint Jerome in His Study (1514), two of the greatest works in the history of printmaking, as a gift from the estate of Bucks and Jean Weil. These extraordinary works of art are explored in the “Alumni Voices” section of this issue by Stacey Sell, Dartmouth Class of 1985, who is the Associate Curator of Old Master Prints and Drawings at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. Although Adolph Weil and Joseph Barker graduated before the Hood Museum of Art opened in 1985, they both exemplify our commitment to the sheer joy of studying with original works of art, and to the importance of this experience for undergraduate students.

Our dedication to supporting these learning opportunities is evident in three other exhibitions at the museum this spring. Concurrent with The Women of Shin Hanga is an exquisite exhibition of Japanese prints selected from the Hood’s collection by students in Professor Hockley’s “Japanese Prints” class. Many of these prints were purchased through the generous support of the Carpenter Foundation. Word and Image investigates the use and significance of language in contemporary art and was curated in collaboration with studio art majors from the Class of 2013. Finally, Alan Covey, Associate Professor of Anthropology, selected objects from the Hood’s collection with students enrolled in his winter 2013 class titled “Origins of Inequality” that address, as he says, “material representations of inequality” across geography and culture groups. These exhibitions, together with our ongoing student-curated A Space for Dialogue program, reflect the Hood’s mission to create an ideal learning environment that fosters transformative encounters with works of art.

We very much look forward to welcoming Philip Hanlon, Dartmouth Class of 1977, as the eighteenth President of Dartmouth College and engaging with him on the museum’s vision for the future, which includes the upcoming expansion of our facility by Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects. Our strong teaching mission will inform Tod and Billie’s visionary designs for the new galleries, classrooms, and event spaces, which will enhance the museum learning experience for all our visitors, and I can’t wait to share these plans with you in the months ahead. In the meantime, please join us for the many exciting exhibitions and programs that we have on offer this spring. We are free and open to all, and I trust that your next visit to the museum will be an enjoyable one.

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