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Masterpieces of European painting opening at the Frist Center

 

Works from the Museo de Arte de Ponce

Catalog, Gallery Guide and Wall Text Offered in English, Spanish

NASHVILLE – The Frist Center for the Visual Arts will open Masterpieces of European Painting from Museo de Arte de Ponce on Friday, Feb. 19, 2010. This exhibition, composed of 60 of the greatest highlights of the Museo de Arte de Ponce, located in Ponce, Puerto Rico, will be on view in the Ingram Gallery of the Frist Center through February 19th-May 16, 2010.

The gallery guide, family guide and labels for the exhibition are written in Spanish and English. The fully illustrated exhibition catalog is also bilingual and includes entries by Katie E. Delmez and Trinita Kennedy, curators at the Frist Center, and Frist Center Executive Director and CEO Susan H. Edwards, Ph.D.

Roman Widow (Dîs Manibus) 1874 by Dante Gabriel Rosetti (English, 1828–1882, Oil on canvas, 41 ¾ x 36 9/16) from the Museo de Arte de Ponce, Ponce, Puerto Rico

Roman Widow (Dîs Manibus) 1874 by Dante Gabriel Rosetti (English, 1828–1882, Oil on canvas, 41 ¾ x 36 9/16) from the Museo de Arte de Ponce, Ponce, Puerto Rico

The Museo de Arte de Ponce is widely recognized for its fine collection of Italian and Spanish Baroque, French Academic and British 19th-century art. The museum opened just 50 years ago as Luis A. Ferré, who served as the governor of Puerto Rico from 1968 to 1972, began assembling an encyclopedic collection of art for his fellow Puerto Ricans to enjoy. Today, the museum possesses more than 3,000 works of art and has one of the finest holdings of Old and Modern Master paintings in the Americas.

Cranach the Elder, (1472 Kronach-Weimar 1553) "Judith with the Head of a Holofernes / Judith con la cabeza de Holofernes," ca. 1520-1537. Oil on wood panel, 34 1/4 x 32 1/2 in. Collection Museo de Arte de Ponce, The Luis A. Ferré Foundation, Inc., Ponce, Puerto Rico 60.0143

Cranach the Elder, (1472 Kronach-Weimar 1553) "Judith with the Head of a Holofernes / Judith con la cabeza de Holofernes," ca. 1520-1537. Oil on wood panel, 34 1/4 x 32 1/2 in. Collection Museo de Arte de Ponce, The Luis A. Ferré Foundation, Inc., Ponce, Puerto Rico 60.0143

The exhibition ranges from the gold-leaf idealism of the late Middle Ages to the detailed realism of the end of the 19th century and brings together iconic works from the collection’s Italian, French, Dutch, Flemish, Spanish, German and Austrian schools of painting. Among the artists represented are Peter Paul Rubens (1577–1640), Bernardo Strozzi (1581–1644), Francisco de Zurbarán (1598–1664), Anthony van Dyck (1599–1641), Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828–1882), Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones (1833–1898).

“This collection of European art from the Museo de Arte de Ponce is a tribute to Ferré’s vision and commitment to beauty from all the ages” says Trinita Kennedy, associate curator at the Frist Center. “He wanted to create an institution that would allow his fellow Puerto Ricans access to the work of some of the finest artists in the world. The collection, while relatively little known outside Puerto Rico until recent years, is truly extraordinary. Like Thomas Frist, founder of the Frist Center, Ferré had education as one of his primary goals for his museum. He succeeded, to be sure. Not only does the collection include some of the ‘stars’ of the art world, but he also acquired superb works by artists who, though lesser known, have made important artistic contributions,” Kennedy concluded.

The museum founder’s grandson, Benigno Trigo, who currently resides in Nashville and teaches at Vanderbilt University, has written the exhibition’s gallery guide. Composed from a personal point of view, Trigo’s essay, Luis Ferré’s Sensibility: The Healing Core of the Museo de Arte de Ponce, recalls the travels, inspirations and aspirations that led Ferré to begin collecting and to his subsequent creation of the Museo de Arte de Ponce.

Solomon De Bray, (1597 Amsterdam-Haarlem 1664) "Jael, Deborah, and Barak / Jael, Deborah, y Barak," ca. 1630. Oil on wood panel, 36 3/4 x 28 1/2 in. Collection Museo de Arte de Ponce, The Luis A. Ferré Foundation, Inc., Ponce, Puerto Rico 59.0125

Solomon De Bray, (1597 Amsterdam-Haarlem 1664) "Jael, Deborah, and Barak / Jael, Deborah, y Barak," ca. 1630. Oil on wood panel, 36 3/4 x 28 1/2 in. Collection Museo de Arte de Ponce, The Luis A. Ferré Foundation, Inc., Ponce, Puerto Rico 59.0125

“We are thrilled to have such a personal connection to this exhibition,” said Frist Center Executive Director and CEO Susan H. Edwards, Ph.D. “Benigno Trigo has been wonderful in helping us look beyond the works on the wall to understand how art transformed his grandfather’s life and the lives of those around him.”

Luis A. Ferré, a true 20th-century Renaissance man, studied engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and music at the New England Conservatory of Music. Following graduation, he returned to his native Puerto Rico where he became an industrialist, gifted pianist, philanthropist and, eventually, governor of the island. Inspired by the American way of democracy he experienced in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Ferré applied democratic principles to a number of his endeavors back home, one of which was helping to transform the family business into a successful industrial and media empire. With the advice of art historians, Ferré assembled what is today the core of an impressive collection and founded Museo de Arte de Ponce in 1959.

By 1965, Luis A. Ferré’s once modest museum outgrew its original colonial house in central Ponce. Ferré commissioned Edward Durell Stone, a former pupil of Frank Lloyd Wright and architect of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, to design a permanent home for the collection, which received the American Institute of Architecture’s Medal of Honor in 1967.

The masterpieces of the Ponce collection offer exceptional variety and transcend time in their beauty. Working on every scale and through various modes of expression, the artists in this exhibition found inspiration in classical mythology, ancient Greek and Roman history, the Bible and even fleeting moments from everyday life. Through these paintings, the visitor is able to follow the major trends in European art from the Renaissance to the Modern era.

An audio tour for Masterpieces of European Painting from Museo de Arte de Ponce is available at visitor and member services for the duration of this exhibition.

This exhibition was organized by Museo de Arte de Ponce, The Luis A. Ferré Foundation, Inc., Ponce, Puerto Rico.

Sponsors

2010 Platinum Sponsor: The HCA Foundation on behalf of HCA and the TriStar Family of Hospitals

The Frist Center for the Visual Arts is supported in part by the Metro Nashville Arts Commission and the Tennessee Arts Commission.

Related Public Programs

Art Making: Terrific Triptychs
Wednesday, February 17  10:00 a.m.–5:30 p.m.
Grand Lobby
Free

Drop in, be inspired, and create your own work of art in the Grand Lobby throughout the day. Featured activity: Draw and embellish your own scene on a paper triptych panel that you can take home to display! Triptychs are works of art divided into three sections that first became popular as altar paintings during the Middle Ages.

Curator’s Perspective: Masterpieces of European Painting from Museo de Arte de Ponce
Friday, February 19th 6:30 p.m.
Auditorium
Free

Join Cheryl Hartup, curator-in-chief at the Museo de Arte de Ponce, for a lively discussion of this exhibition.

Gallery Talk: “Truth to Nature? From Pre-Raphaelites to Aesthetes”
Thursday, March 4th 7:00 p.m.
Meet at the information desk
Free with gallery admission

Dr. Morna O’Neill, Mellon assistant professor of nineteenth-century European art at Vanderbilt University, will discuss paintings by British artists in Masterpieces of European Painting from Museo de Arte de Ponce that allude to an artistic debate that raged in London during the 1850s and 1860s: namely, what is the relationship of art to the “real world”? In 1848 the artists who called themselves the “Pre-Raphaelites” admired the paintings of 14th-century Italy, which were created before the time of the painter Raphael. Dante Gabriel Rossetti, John Everett Millais and William Holman Hunt strove to return to that style by observing nature directly, taking their cue from the art critic John Ruskin, who exhorted artists to “go to Nature, rejecting nothing, selecting nothing.” Yet in the following decades, Rossetti forged a new path through Aestheticism, the European artistic movement that espoused the credo of “art for art’s sake” during the second half of the 19th century. This single-minded devotion to beauty declared that art should not instruct, amuse or entertain. The following generation of artists, chief among them Edward Coley Burne-Jones, sought to reconcile their admiration for Ruskin and Pre-Raphaelite painting with the search for beauty.

Curator’s Tour with Trinita Kennedy
Thursday, March 11th 7:00 p.m.
Meet at the information desk
Free with purchase of gallery admission

Join Trinita Kennedy, associate curator at the Frist Center, for a tour of Masterpieces of European Painting from Museo de Arte de Ponce.

ARTini
Friday, March 19th 7:00 p.m.
Meet at the information desk
Free with purchase of gallery admission

Join Anne Taylor, curator of interpretation at the Frist Center, as she leads an informal conversation about one or two works of art in Masterpieces of European Painting from Museo de Arte de Ponce. Complete your evening by relaxing in the Grand Lobby with beverages from the café, including special ARTinis, and visiting with friends.

ARTini
Tuesday, March 23rd 12:00 p.m.
Meet at the information desk
Free with purchase of gallery admission

Take a break from your day and join Anne Taylor, curator of interpretation at the Frist Center, as she leads an informal conversation about one or two works of art in Masterpieces of European Painting from Museo de Arte de Ponce. Complete your visit with a stop in the café or gift store.

Family Day
Sunday, March 28th 1:00-5:30 pm
Free
Enjoy a fun-filled day of excitement with friends and family including special art-making activities, live music and dance performances.

“Luis Ferré’s Sensibility: The Healing Core of the Ponce Museum”
Thursday, April 8th 6:30 p.m.
Auditorium
Free

Join Benigno Trigo, Ph.D., grandson of Luis A. Ferré, for a discussion on the importance of art to the community. Trigo will focus on the ideas that motivated his grandfather to found the Museo de Arte de Ponce, its placement in the Puerto Rican community and the different iterations of the institution’s existence. Insights into Ferré’s choices for the artwork he purchased for the museum will also be shared.

The placement of a museum in any community is done so in the hopes of inspiring its citizens. Whether that inspiration leads to seeing their world in new ways or doing great things every day lies in the collective efforts of the museum, the objects on display and within the individual who comes into contact with them. The Frist Center for the Visual Arts was founded on the belief that the visual arts could inspire people to look at their world in new ways. This notion was also held by Luis A. Ferré, the founder of the Museo de Arte de Ponce, who was convinced that seeing original works of art would have a transformative effect on the individuals and community of his hometown, the poverty stricken Ponce, Puerto Rico. The Frist Center for the Visual Arts and Museo de Arte de Ponce are kindred spirits in this regard; both were founded for the enrichment of their surrounding populations. On the day the Frist Center celebrates its ninth anniversary in Nashville, the grandson of the founder of the Museo de Arte de Ponce will present a talk that illustrates the importance of artwork on both the individual and community levels.

Gallery Talk: “A Tale of Two Cities: Making and Marketing Art in Antwerp and Amsterdam, 1500–1700”
Friday, April 23rd 7:00 p.m.
Meet at the information desk
Free with purchase of gallery admission

Inasmuch as paintings have come to be considered priceless works of art, they are also cultural commodities that are bought and sold, traded and exchanged. Artists of the early modern period, while pursuing their own creative interests, were also crafts people faced with the challenge of earning a living through their trade. Jay Bloom, assistant professor of the history of art, Vanderbilt University, will look at the art of early modern Antwerp and Amsterdam, cities which, at the time, were major centers of global commerce boasting extraordinary artistic output that was unrivaled in the known world. By considering a range of the innovative techniques that were developed to produce and market paintings by artists and dealers alike, the histories presented in this talk will offer both a survey of canonical artists of the period—including Peter Paul Rubens and Anthony van Dyck—and an alternative means by which to understand the complex motivations underpinning artistic practice.

About the Frist Center for the Visual Arts

The Frist Center

Accredited by the American Association of Museums, the Frist Center for the Visual Arts, located at 919 Broadway in downtown Nashville, Tenn., is an art exhibition center dedicated to presenting the finest visual art from local, regional, U.S. and international sources in a program of changing exhibitions. The Frist Center’s Martin ArtQuest Gallery features more than 30 interactive stations relating to Frist Center exhibitions. Gallery admission to the Frist Center is free for visitors 18 and younger and to Frist Center members. Starting Jan. 2, 2010, Frist Center admission is $10.00 for adults and $7.00 for seniors, military and college students with ID. College students are admitted free Thursday and Friday evenings, 5–9 p.m. Discounts are offered for groups of 10 or more with advance reservation by calling 615.744.3246. The Frist Center is open seven days a week: Mondays through Wednesdays, and Saturdays, 10 a.m.–5:30 p.m.; Thursdays and Fridays, 10 a.m.–9 p.m. and Sundays, 1–5:30 p.m., with the Frist Center Café opening at noon. Additional information is available by calling 615.244.3340 or by visiting our Web site at www.fristcenter.org.


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