Tuesday, May 3, 2011

European Drawings at the Portland Museum of Art

Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres (France, 1780–1867),
Portrait of the Honorable Frederick Sylvester North Douglas,
Son of Lord and Lady Glenbervie, 1815

European Drawings at the Portland Museum of Art
March 26, 2011 - May 22, 2011
by Curator Margaret Burgess

Just like the crocuses that are beginning to bloom, the exhibition European Drawings, on view at the Museum through May 22, has had a long germination process and the works have seen many dark days in storage! Studying the drawings in the Museum’s special works-on-paper storage room was one of my first projects when I arrived here at the Museum as the new associate curator of European and Modern Art in January 2009. My colleague Allyson Humphrey, registrarial assistant, and I would spend hours in the storage facility in the depths of the Museum, pouring over the fragile drawings which are carefully conserved in either black Solander boxes or large folios depending on their size. Based on a search in our collections database, I had pinpointed those drawings that I wanted to view, but we uncovered many more along the way!

In addition, a year into the exhibition planning, a wonderful gift arrived! I was introduced to a couple who collected drawings and wanted to give them to the Museum. This was marvelous—not only for the Museum’s collections in general, but for the exhibition in particular. It was a windfall for the show. Another year into exhibition planning, another longtime member of our Museum family approached us to offer on loan additional drawings for the exhibition. They had heard about the exhibition and were eager to share their works! Altogether these works round out the exhibition in ways I could never have imagined and I am immensely grateful to all of our loyal members of the Museum family. It is so gratifying for me to see the drawings now on display, flourishing in the 2nd floor galleries and seeing the light of day—just like the flowers of spring!

In the News:

“Review: ‘European Drawings’ at the Portland Museum of Art”
The Portland Phoenix, Wednesday, March 30, 2011

“Drawn Together”
The Portland Press Herald, Thursday, March 24, 2011

“Year of the Drawing”
The Maine Sunday Telegram, January 9, 2011