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Primary Support: The Lathrop Fellows

Hood Quarterly, autumn 2003

This museum’s collections are deep and vast. They are also growing in quality, thanks in no small part to the inspired support of one special group of committed friends of the museum—the Lathrop Fellows. James Cuno formed this patron group in 1989 when he was director of the Hood, naming it after the beloved Dartmouth art historian and museum director Churchill “Jerry” Lathrop. Cuno worked with these individuals to commission a monumental bronze sculpture by Joel Shapiro that now stands in the Bedford Courtyard of the museum.

The membership has grown in importance and ambition over the past fourteen years. Today, there are eighty-three Lathrop Fellows and the group is more active than ever, a fact about which the museum is justly proud. All told, more than a dozen objects have been added to the permanent collection through the Lathrop Fellows’ generosity, including major examples of African sculpture, American painting, and European master prints. Recent acquisitions sponsored by the group include a rare New Hampshire landscape by the twentieth-century artist Rockwell Kent, the very first work of digital art to be purchased by the Hood—Bill Viola’s mesmerizing The Quintet of the Silent (2001)—and most recently Mary Cassatt’s captivating pencil drawing Study for “Evening” (1879), which was aquired last spring. 

Each year, the Lathrop Fellows travel with the Hood’s director to an international art center. The group goes “behind the scenes” at major museums, visits the best private collections, and meets with artists in their studios. They also study architectural landmarks and other unique attractions, spending time with area experts and gaining insights into what makes the local culture most unique. So far, the Lathrop Fellows have traveled to New York, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., San Francisco, Chicago, Santa Fe, Seattle and Vancouver, Toronto and Stratford, San Diego, and Miami; this fall the group travels to the Hudson River Valley, and in early 2004 they are scheduled to take a special extended tour of Paris and Normandy, France.

In 2001, Director Derrick Cartwright began commissioning well-known artists to create limited edition works of art as a special thank you to Lathrop Fellows for their high-level contributions. So far, Olivia Parker, Rupert Garcia, and Alison Saar have each made a print exclusively for Benefactor members of this group. Additionally, each of these prints is added to the museum’s permanent collection as a lasting reference to the generosity and devoted philanthropy of the group. Like every object that the Lathrop Fellows make available to this collection, these works of art will be used and studied by the Dartmouth College community for generations to come.

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