SHELBURNE, Vt. (April 23, 2020)–While visitors are not able to visit Shelburne Museum due to stay-at-home measures in place in the state, the museum is bringing the experience to visitors in their homes, offering online exhibitions with recorded talks from curators, behind the scenes conservation insights and activities.
The first exhibition, Color, Pattern, Whimsy, & Scale is focused on Shelburne Museum founder Electra Havemeyer Webb and her passion for American folk art. The exhibition explores her collecting ethos as she assembled one of the earliest and largest collections that would become the foundation for the museum.
“Typically this time of year we would be gearing up for new summer exhibitions in our galleries. While we are not able to do that at this time, our impulse to engage the community, to offer a welcome diversion and to be here for our visitors has not changed. Instead, we have channeled our curatorial energy into creating a digital experience for our audience,” said Museum Director Thomas Denenberg. “It seems apropos to start with an exhibition that highlights many of the iconic objects that our visitors know and love and that highlights the drive and devotion of our founder, Electra Havemeyer Webb.”
The museum’s 45-acre campus and 39 exhibition buildings have been closed since mid-March in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Color, Pattern, Whimsy, & Scale will launch in four parts. The first, Color, features an overview of the exhibition and a gallery of objects that illustrate Mrs. Webb’s fascination with color. Viewers are able to play recordings by museum curators detailing the objects and can learn about behind-the-scenes preparations narrated by conservators. In addition, viewers can participate in hands-on activities based on the exhibition themes.
“The exhibition aims to recreate the museum experience for visitors to enjoy in the comfort of their own homes,” said Kory Rogers, chief curator and Francie and John Downing curator of American art. “Color, Pattern, Whimsy, & Scale offers a sampling of beautiful, colorful and whimsical objects from the collection that are meant to bring wonder, joy and a smile to the viewer.”
Color, Pattern, Whimsy, & Scale explores Electra Havemeyer Webb’s idiosyncratic, intuitive and imaginative approach to collecting and features both well-known masterpieces and surprising treasures in Shelburne Museum’s diverse collection. Color features vibrant art objects including French Impressionist painting Blue Venice by Edouard Manet, painted furniture from the 18th century and a striking orange and black carousel tiger made by artisans at the Dentzel Carousel Co. circa 1900.
Forthcoming exhibitions include American Stories an overview of the early American experience as seen through the art, architecture and collections of Shelburne Museum.
Generous support for this exhibition is provided by The Donna and Marvin Schwartz Foundation and the Barnstormers at Shelburne Museum.
About Shelburne Museum
Founded in 1947 by pioneering folk art collector Electra Havemeyer Webb (1888–1960), Shelburne Museum in Shelburne, Vermont, is the largest art and history museum in northern New England and Vermont’s foremost public resource for visual art and material culture. The Museum’s 45-acre campus is comprised of 39 buildings including the Pizzagalli Center for Art and Education and Webb Gallery featuring important American paintings by Andrew Wyeth, Winslow Homer, Grandma Moses, John Singleton Copley, and many more. For more information, please visit shelburnemuseum.org.
IMAGE CAPTION: Edouard Manet’s work The Grand Canal — Venice (Blue Venice), from 1875 is featured in the “Color” section of the online exhibition Color, Pattern, Whimsy, & Scale at Shelburne Museum. The exhibition explores Electra Havemeyer Webb’s idiosyncratic, intuitive and imaginative approach to collecting and features both well-known masterpieces and surprising treasures in Shelburne Museum’s diverse collection.
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