Pavilion Galleries Temporarily Closed
(January 6, 2014) Joslyn's Pavilion galleries of contemporary art from the permanent collection are temporarily closed for reinstallation. The reopening in March will feature some important favorites plus works that have not been seen in a while and some wonderful new acquisitions.
Recent Acquisition Now on View
Joslyn’s internationally recognized collection of Western American art has a new addition — The Prairie Fire
(1851) by Henry Ritter (German, 1816–1853).
Born in Montreal to a German father and an English mother, Ritter grew up in London and Hamburg, where he began his artistic training. Beginning in 1836, he studied at the Düsseldorf Academy under Karl Sohn and Rudolf Jordan. Ritter’s abilities developed rapidly, and he became one of the leading genre painters in Germany.
Although he settled in Düsseldorf, Ritter’s first language was English, and his contemporaries often referred to him as an American. Fires were one of the most popular subjects for nineteenth-century plains images, and feature regularly in early tales of the American West, as well as in paintings by William T. Ranney and Charles Deas. Both dangerous and hypnotically enticing, prairie fires were a shared experience for many on the plains, impacting settlers, Indians and explorers alike. The Prairie Fire
depicts the desperate flight of a band of Native Americans from a fast-moving prairie fire.
The first Museum purchase of 2014, the work is now on view in Joslyn’s Durham Gallery (Gallery 7) in the Memorial Building.
(Above) Henry Ritter (German, 1816–1853), The Prairie Fire
, 1851, oil on canvas, Museum purchase with funds from the Ethel S. Abbott Art Endowment Fund, the Jack Drew Endowment for 18th- and 19th-Century Art, the Durham Center for Western Studies Art Endowment Fund, and the Ethel C. Flannigan Trust, 2014.1
Balcony Features American Indian, Asian Art
The reinstallation of the Storz Fountain Court balcony galleries, dedicated to American Indian and Asian art from the permanent collection, is complete. Head upstairs during your next visit!
American Indian Art: Tradition and Innovation
American Indian art is often viewed as fixed in time — as the record of peoples who have been displaced, or the repetition of decorative styles far removed from their original sources. This gallery aims to create a dialogue between past and present, highlighting historic objects alongside works by contemporary American Indian artists. As part of a living tradition, their work celebrates their heritage while also addressing the challenges that face Native communities today and their relationship with Euro-American society. From practical objects made for everyday use to painting and sculpture that expands the contemporary vocabulary, the works seen in the new installation represent the diversity of American Indian cultures with expressions of reverence, anger, humor, and vitality. The installation includes 31 works ranging from a nineteenth-century Haida mask from the Pacific Northwest to Zig Jackson’s self-portrait, photographed in a war bonnet, sunglasses and tennis shoes while riding a city bus. Featured artists include Arthur Amiotte, Mary Lee Begay, Edith Claymore, Bob Haozous, Oscar Howe, Maria Montoya Martinez, Jaune Quick-To-See Smith, Roxanne Swentzell, and
Teri Greeves (Kiowa, born 1970), High-Top Tennis Shoes,
1995, beaded Converse All Star canvas shoes, Museum Purchase, 1996.24.a–b
The Arts of Asia
The 29 objects in this gallery are drawn from a broad geographic
area that includes China, Japan, India, and Southeast Asia. Spanning a period of over 3,500 years, the objects in this installation reflect the religious beliefs and artistic heritage of many interwoven cultures from the Neolithic period (about 10,000 BC to about 2,000 BC) to the nineteenth century. Highlighting all aspects of life, from the household to religious devotion to the passage of the deceased into the next world, the works explore how various peoples conceived of life and death and the confluence of the two. The ferocious visage of a ceramic zhenmushou
or tomb guardian from the Tang Dynasty (618–983), placed to warn away malevolent invaders that would disturb the deceased in the afterlife, sits in marked contrast to the serene smile of a gilded Tibetan Bodhisattva from the nineteenth century, intended as a vessel to assist others on the journey towards enlightenment. The history of interaction with Western culture is also reflected, from the classicizing influence of Hellenistic Greece seen in a small tomb relief, to the advent of foreign trade in the sixteenth century that created a market for elaborately-decorated porcelain in Western Europe, highlighted by two vases emblazoned with dragons snaking their way through roiling clouds. Reverence for the natural world is evidenced by Nishiyama Hôen’s elegant screen depicting a male peacock displaying his magnificent tail to his mate surrounded by peonies and cherry and magnolia blossoms.
Nishiyama Hôen (Japanese, 1804–1867), Two Peacocks and Flowers,
mid 19th century, ink and color on silk, Museum Purchase, 1998.50
The Maximilian Journals
Between 1832-34, the explorer and naturalist Prince Alexander Philipp Maximilian of Wied-Neuwied, Germany, embarked on a voyage into the furthest reaches of the American Interior. Accompanied by the Swiss artist Karl Bodmer, Maximilian set forth from St. Louis in April 1833 on a 2,500 mile journey by steamship and keelboat up the Missouri River, traveling as far as Fort McKenzie, Montana. Wintering at the Mandan village near Fort Clark, they returned downriver the following spring, having spent over a year amongst the tribes of the Upper Missouri. The watercolors that Bodmer produced on this journey remain one of the most perceptive and compelling visual accounts of the West ever created. Meanwhile, his patron Maximilian was equally hard at work on a journal documenting his scientific and anthropologic observations. Few historical chronicles are as informative and eloquent, describing the topography, Native peoples, natural history, and the burgeoning fur trade of the High Plains. Today, Maximilian’s journals are a centerpiece of the Joslyn collection, accompanied by his collection of over 350 watercolors and drawings by Karl Bodmer.
Joslyn Art Museum recently announced the milestone publication of the third and final volume of the English translation of The North American Journals of Prince Maximilian of Wied, one of the most important documents of the nineteenth-century American West. Volumes 1 and 2 were published in 2008 and 2010 respectively. In 2008, Volume 1 was named the "Outstanding Nonfiction Book" of the year by National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum. In the fall of 2011, Volume 1 received the Western History Association’s Dwight L. Smith Award, a biennial award recognizing outstanding bibliographic or research work. Earlier in 2011, Volumes 1 and 2 were reviewed by Stuart Ferguson of The Wall Street Journal, who called the works a "magnificent chronicle."
The North American Journals of Prince Maximilian of Wied — Volume 1: May 1832–April 1833; Volume 2: April–September 1833; and Volume 3: September 1833–August 1834 are available in Joslyn Art Museum’s Hitchcock Museum Shop for $85 per volume. The Journals are edited by Stephen S. Witte and Marsha V. Gallagher. Volumes 1 and 2 are translated by William J. Orr, Paul Schach, and Dieter Karch with forewords by John Wilson. Volume 3 is translated by Dieter Karch with a foreword by Joslyn’s Executive Director and CEO Jack Becker.
Support for the Maximilian Journals Project has come from many sources. Robert Daugherty funded the completion of the translation in 2003. The Bodmer Society, Charles W. Durham, and Marlene and J. Joe Ricketts made timely contributions to support initial editing and production costs. Dorothy and Stanley M. Truhlsen, Arader Galleries, Ann and Steve Berzin, Judy and Terry Haney, Susan and Michael Lebens, Pinnacle Bank, and Phyllis and Del Toebben provided additional support. Joslyn was awarded a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the University of Oklahoma Press received funding from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission. Ultimately, however, it has been the extremely generous gifts of Howard L. and Rhonda A. Hawks and The Hawks Foundation that have made this important publication possible.
Art of the Americas
Art in America:
Colonial Times to the Present
August 9, 2011 — A major reinstallation of Joslyn Art Museum’s American and American Western galleries is now open to the public. Click here for all the details.
Support for this reinstallation has been provided by the Gilbert M. and Martha H. Hitchcock Foundation, the Henry Luce Foundation, and The Sunderland Foundation.
(Left) Thomas Moran (American, born England, 1837–1926), In the Teton Range,
1899, oil on canvas, Lent by William C. Foxley, 2006
The Scope of Joslyn's Collections
Eugene Kingman (far right), the second director of Joslyn Art Museum (1947–1969), oversees the delivery of art at the north door of the Memorial building. Photo ca. 1962.
For a brief synopsis of the Museum's collections,