Dear members and friends,
Recently, the Museum acquired three beautiful works of art from Visual Grace: Important American Folk Art from the Collection of Ralph O. Esmerian, an auction that took place at Sotheby’s on January 25. I am pleased to report that a consortium of museum friends made a generous donation that, combined with American Folk Art Museum earmarked acquisition funds, facilitated the purchase of a Miniature Slipware Plate, the Running Horse Silhouette Resist Plate by Conrad Kolb Ranninger, and the rare early nineteenth-century sketch and tunebook for Daniel Steele.
What you might not know is that more than a year ago the Museum was afforded the opportunity to select fifty-three masterworks from the Esmerian collection, including William Edmondson’s Lady with Muff, a Sultana show figure attributed to the workshop of Samuel Anderson Robb, the Sallie Hathaway Needlework Picture, Situation of America, 1848, the portrait of by David and Catherine Stolp Crane by Sheldon Peck, and the schoolgirl Map of the Animal Kingdom. These are in addition to sixty-five works that he had previously given as outright gifts to the Museum. All of these artworks had been researched, exhibited, and shared by the Museum over many years. They are signature works in our collection, and many of them can be found by exploring the image gallery.
I know this will pique your curiosity: you will have the opportunity to view many of these works in person in the upcoming exhibition Self-Taught Genius: Treasures from the American Folk Art Museum, which opens at the Museum on May 13 and will then travel to six venues around the country. This exhibition and its national tour are made possible by generous funding from the Henry Luce Foundation as part of its 75th anniversary initiative.
Also, we would like to acknowledge, in particular, the leadership of Board member Elizabeth V. Warren, Chairman of the Collections Committee; Board member Lucy Danziger, who was responsible for establishing the consortium of donors who made the recent purchase possible; and Deputy Director, Chief Curator, and Director of Exhibitions Stacy C. Hollander, whose keen eye and unparalleled knowledge of the field brought these wonderful works into all of our lives.
We have even more good news. Please see News to learn about important staff changes that will benefit the Museum in immeasurable ways.
The Honorable Anne-Imelda Radice, PhD
Image: Tunebook, Daniel Steele (dates unknown), Pennsylvania, c. 1790, watercolor and ink on paper, 5 x 8 1/2″ (closed), American Folk Art Museum, museum purchase with partial funds provided by Becky and Bob Alexander, Lucy and Mike Danziger, Jane and Gerald Katcher, Donna and Marvin Schwartz, Kristy and Steve Scott, and an anonymous donor, 2014.1.1. Photo courtesy Sotheby’s, New York.