Upcoming Exhibitions: Early Christian Art, Mummies, Frans Hals and More

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Fired Up: Contemporary Glass by Women Artists
Sept. 2, 2017-March 18, 2018, Glass Pavilion
The discovery of glass as a serious artistic medium in the 1960s – sparked during the Studio Glass Movement that originated at the Toledo Museum of Art – was monumental. Yet in the early decades of the medium’s artistic flowering, women faced an uphill battle in their demands for fair recognition of their contributions and work. In Fired Up: Contemporary Glass by Women Artists, more than 50 objects showcase the women who now rank among the most innovative and celebrated glass artists. Drawn from the Toledo Museum of Art’s renowned glass collection, with notable loans from private collectors, the works document nearly six decades of underappreciated influence, from the art that helped women forge a path in the Studio Glass Movement of the ‘60s to the ingenuity of 21st-century innovations. The exhibition is sponsored by O-I; Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick; the Ohio Arts Council and with funds received in the memory of Dr. Edward A. and Mrs. Rita Barbour Kern. Free admission.

Drawn from Classicism: Modern Artists’ Books
Sept. 9-Dec. 10, 2017, Wolfe Mezzanine Gallery
This exhibition features a selection of modern limited-edition artist-illustrated books (or livres d’artistes) with ancient classical and mythological texts. Created largely by School of Paris artists – including Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse and Aristide Maillol, among others – the books’ innovative and original prints highlight artists’ books as a vehicle for the exploration of a range of Greek and Roman literary themes, such as love and lust, imaginary idyllic landscapes and human mortality. With their classicizing designs inspired by antique texts by Ovid, Virgil and other Greek and Roman poets and playwrights, these illustrated books exemplify how major artists from the late 19th century and early 20th century imaginatively reconnected to age-old narratives and mythological figures. This exhibition is drawn from the Toledo Museum of Art’s permanent collection.

Glorious Splendor: Treasures of Early Christian Art
Nov. 18, 2017-Feb. 18, 2018, Gallery 18
Christian art borrowed heavily from non-Christian traditions in terms of its techniques, media, style and iconography. Glorious Splendor traces these continuities through the most remarkable objects of the period: precious stones, metals and jewelry. The exhibition will feature some 30 masterpieces of Late Roman art, most of which have never been exhibited before in a museum. Drawing on private collections and TMA’s holdings, this exhibition will captivate viewers with its glittering gold and silver, stunning oversize carved garnets and rubies and dazzling rings and necklaces. Glorious Splendor: Treasures of Early Christian Art is supported in part by Taylor Cadillac, Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral, the TMA Ambassadors, Mary Lynch Jarrell and Paul A. Jarrell, James and Gregory Demirjian, Sotheby’s and the OAC, with additional support from the 2017 exhibition program sponsor ProMedica.

The Mummies: From Egypt to Toledo
Feb. 3-May 6, 2018, Canaday Gallery
In 1906 the founders of the Toledo Museum of Art, Edward Drummond Libbey and Florence Scott Libbey, visited Egypt, where they purchased a pair of Egyptian mummies as part of a collection of artifacts. Due to conservation issues and ethical considerations surrounding the display of human bodies, these mummies are only occasionally on view. This special installation will trace the history of Egyptian mummies, from their lives and burial rituals in Late Dynasty Egypt to their rediscovery during the Napoleonic era and the resulting Egyptomania for subsequent generations. It will place the mummies in historical context through additional Egyptian objects and artifacts from the TMA collection and loans from other institutions. The exhibition will also explore several intersecting issues for TMA and other cultural museums related to the collecting and display of these fascinating and significant objects, including whose mummies are these, do they belong in an art museum and what can we learn from them?

Before Audubon: Alexander Wilson’s Birds of the United States
April 21-July 15, 2018, Gallery 18
In 1808, Scottish-born poet and amateur naturalist Alexander Wilson (1766-1813) began publishing American Ornithology; or The Natural History of the Birds of the United States. Wilson’s impressive achievement inspired John James Audubon to publish his much better-known Birds of America (1827-38). Though Wilson had no background as an artist, he taught himself printmaking and illustrated his nine volumes of careful observations of the birds of the northeastern U.S. with 79 hand-colored engraved and etched plates of 262 species – 39 of which he was the first to describe.

Fourth in the Toledo Museum of Art’s biennial exhibitions focused on bird-themed art, the exhibition coincides with local birding festival the Biggest Week in American Birding, which brings tens of thousands of birders to the area to observe the spring migration of songbirds. It will be the first time the Toledo Museum of Art’s first edition of Wilson’s pioneering multi-volume publication has been exhibited.

Frans Hals Portraits: A Family Reunion
Oct. 13, 2018-Jan. 6, 2019, Canaday Gallery
This exhibition is the first devoted to the family portraiture of Frans Hals (1582/83-1666), one of the foremost painters of the Dutch Golden Age. Organized by the Toledo Museum of Art and the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium in Brussels, the exhibition was prompted by the Toledo Museum of Art’s acquisition in 2011 of Frans Hals’s Van Campen Family Portrait in a Landscape, as well as the recent conservation of Brussels’ Three Children of the Van Campen Family. These two works originally formed one composition, separated for unknown reasons likely in the late 18th century or early 19th century. The exhibition reunites the sections of the Toledo/Brussels painting, where it will be shown with the three other family portraits painted by the artist, and includes loans from the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza in Madrid, the National Gallery in London, the Cincinnati Art Museum and other distinguished collections. The exhibition will travel to Brussels and Madrid following its Toledo debut. A scholarly publication accompanies the exhibition.

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