In the 2000 academic year, I was contacted about lending our oil painting by American modernist Arthur B. Davies to the Hyde Collection for a show dedicated to the early modernist's work. I explained to the curator that our Davies painting, "Acrobats," (fig. 4) required professional conservation attention and could not travel in its current condition. The Hyde Collection was so interested in including our piece in their show to tell the Davies story that we entered into discussions about raising funds to conserve the work. Following conversations with my colleagues at the Hyde, they contributed to the cost of professionally conserving the painting in preparation for their exhibition.
Some months later, we were thrilled to unveil our Davies painting, which had experienced a major transformation. And, in the summer of 2001, Davies' "Acrobats" was one of 30 works in a groundbreaking exhibition titled "Arthur B. Davies: Dweller on the Threshold" organized by the Hyde Collection in Glen Falls, N.Y.
This experience was especially exciting because our collection was enhanced by the conservation of the piece, and its inclusion in the Hyde show further exposed Davies' work and Muhlenberg's collection to new audiences outside of our region. An image of our painting was also included in the handsome exhibition catalogue.
The Hyde show made an impact in art and museum circles and broke new ground for the Martin Art Gallery, and I was thrilled when Dean of Academic Life Carol Shiner Wilson reported that she had seen the Davies show on a trip to the Glen Falls area. She was surprised to see one of our paintings hanging in the exhibition gallery at the Hyde Collection and shared her pride in the success of the gallery program with our campus community.
Similarly, our collection will be shared with other institutions in the coming months. Our Durer prints will be featured in an exhibition, ŇAlbrecht Durer: The Life of the Virgin and Selected Master Prints' at the Suzanne H. Arnold Art Gallery at Lebanon Valley College in nearby Annville, Pa. The exhibition will show Renaissance printmaking at its best through the work, "Melencolia I" from 1514 from our collection.
Like the Durer prints, a selection of Rembrandt prints from our collection will be included in a traveling exhibition beginning in the spring of 2002 and continuing until the winter of 2003. The Rembrandt print show will travel to area college galleries including the Berman Museum of Art at Ursinus College (Collegeville, Pa.), the Suzanne H. Arnold Art Gallery at Lebanon Valley College and the Phillips Museum of Art at Franklin and Marshall College (Lancaster, Pa.)
While we are contributing to these important traveling exhibitions and focusing on expanding our art collection and programs through the Friends of the Martin Art Gallery, we remain committed to our work with the campus community, making our collection available to students and faculty to enhance the academic experience.
And, while the Martin Art Gallery is sharing its treasures, we are also receiving a great deal in return. Please visit us on your next trip to campus and, of course, look for a work from our collection when you visit a museum or gallery in your neck of the woods. You may be surprised to see a little piece of Muhlenberg adorning a distant gallery wall.