Glowing with vibrant color and pulsating with energy, Walter I. Anderson’s lively images of landscapes, animals, and plants remain among the most unique and visionary evocations of the Gulf Shore region. This watercolor is a superb example of his work and fully reflects the artist’s near obsession with immersing himself in nature. Overcoming blistering summers, stinging insects, hurricane gales, freezing winters, and very primitive living conditions, Anderson was able to capture the intense vitality of the natural world.
This exceptional watercolor is a gift from Mimi Dann and is one of a hundred works which will be included in 100 Gifts for 100 Years. Opening in Spring 2016, this exhibition celebrates the Brooks’ centennial through a display of paintings, sculpture, photographs, prints, textiles, and decorative arts—all given to mark the museum’s first century of existence. Graciously offered by museum support groups, artists’s estates, and local and national collectors, 100 Gifts for 100 Years adds an extraordinary legacy to the Brooks’ already remarkable collection, and celebrates the past one hundred years even as it look forward to the next century.
Walter I. Anderson, American, 1903-1965
Untitled, ca. 1966
Memphis Brooks Museum of Art; Proposed gift of Mimi Dann.
100 gifts for 100 years, 1916 2016. PA.2014.54
© Estate of the Artist
Continuing their long
history of gifting superb works of art to the Brooks, the Decorative Arts Trust
recently presented the museum with this splendid Italian Renaissance dish. Its
lively, colorful decoration depicts a scene from the Aeneid, the ancient
Roman epic poem by Virgil (ca. 70 B.C.E.-ca. 19 B.C.E.). The dish shows Aeneas,
legendary leader of the Trojans and forefather of Rome, making an offering at
the tomb of his father. The coat of arms, bearing the initial “P” at the top of
the dish, indicates that the piece was made for the Petrobellis, a noble family
Unknown Italian Maker (active Urbino)
Maiolica (tin-glazed earthenware)
of the Decorative Arts Trust
Although born and raised in Memphis, Marjorie Liebman (1914-2007)
studied with such influential teachers as Hans Hofmann and Vaclav Vytlacil.
While living in New York, Liebman was represented by the important Betty
Parsons Gallery. Her atmospheric, abstract oil paintings as well as her later
expressionist and figurative paintings have been widely praised.
The Bridge, which
depicts the old Memphis – Arkansas Bridge, is typical of her loose, painterly
style. The framework of the bridge spans the width of the canvas, with a small
dot of red to represent the setting sun. When asked to summarize the philosophy of her
work, Liebman replied, “Mood is the essence of my art, mood and color. I’m a
romantic. I’ve always tried to achieve poetry in painting. I’ve always seen
those two things together.”
The Brooks is deeply grateful to Charles and Mary Wurtzburger for
their generous gift of The Bridge in
memory of Ms. Liebman.
Liebman, American, 1914-2007
The Bridge, c.1960
Oil on canvas
of Mary and Charles Wurtzburger in memory of Marjorie Liebman, a founder of Art
Bernard Palissy (ca.1510-ca.1590), who worked as a scientist, potter, hydraulics engineer, and craftsman, was truly a Renaissance man. For nearly sixteen years he labored to learn the secret of Chinese porcelain—the translucent, white ceramic that captivated Europe. Although he was never able to accomplish his goal, he did invent a style of highly decorative, richly glazed, and rustic pottery known as "Palissy ware." This example, a platter showing Venus and several putti, typifies his elaborate and popular creations.
School of Bernard Palissy, French
DECORATIVE PLATTER, ca. 1510 1590
Lead glazed earthenware, molded, with applied decoration
Gift of the Decorative Arts Trust
George Segal began his
career as a painter of large-scale expressionist nudes but shifted to sculpture
in the early sixties. He is best known for his life-sized figural groupings,
such as Woman on Bench. Segal
preferred to use people he knew for his models. In this case, the subject is
his niece, who often posed for him. To make the sculptures, he wrapped his
sitters in plaster-soaked bandages in sections that he then assembled to create
the full person. The resulting works have hollow interiors and the rough
surfaces of the bandages, which he altered and manipulated so that they are not
exact copies of his subjects. Initially, he left the plaster white; later he
often painted the sculptures a single color, as seen here. The figures appear
in tableaux, situated on park benches, in doorways or other urban settings. As happens frequently in his work, the lone
individual seated on a bench in front of an anonymous brick wall evokes a sense
of alienation and loneliness, while generating sympathy for the woman and her
The sculpture was
photographed in Segal’s New Jersey studio, which he converted from his former
chicken farm buildings. The Brooks is grateful to the George and Helen Segal
Foundation for this contribution towards 100
Gifts for 100 Years.
George Segal, American,
Woman on Bench, 1997
Painted plaster, metal, and
Gift of the George and
Helen Segal Foundation 2014
Freedom March: Selma to Montgomery, among the most significant images of the Civil
Rights Movement, has become one of the first objects to enter the collection
for 100 Gifts for 100 Years, the
campaign launched to celebrate the Brooks’ centennial in 2016. James Karales’
iconic shot is a welcome addition to the museum’s distinguished collection of
works by Ernest Withers and the Memphis
World photograph archive.
Karales, who received a BFA
in photography from Ohio University in 1955, began his professional career as a
darkroom assistant to the renowned photographer W. Eugene Smith. From 1960 to
the closing of the magazine in 1972, Karales was on the staff of Look, documenting the Vietnam War and
other turbulent events around the world. He was sent to Selma to cover the
third attempt by Dr. King and the growing group of people determined to march
to Montgomery in support of voting rights. Freedom
March is shot from below with the marchers silhouetted against the sky
while dark, storm clouds amass over them. The photograph is a powerful document
that underscores the bravery and resiliency of the marchers in the face of
persistent violence and brutality.
This is a rare vintage
print of Freedom March: Selma to
Montgomery and the Brooks is grateful to the generosity of Jeniam
Foundation and the members of the Collection Committee for making this superb
James Karales, American,
Freedom March: Selma to Montgomery, 1965
Silver gelatin print
Memphis Brooks Museum of
Art purchase with funds provided by the Jeniam Foundation and the Memphis
Brooks Museum of Art Collections Management Committee PA2014.5
Sugar furniture ranks among the most unique forms of Southern decorative arts. Thanks to the generosity of Mrs. Kitty Cottingham, the museum now possesses a rare and beautifully inlaid Kentucky sugar desk. In addition to its function as a food safe for sweeteners and liquor, the piece has a fold-down front for use as a writing surface for keeping household accounts.
Sugar Desk, 1815-1825
Cherry with mahogany veneer and light wood inlay, tulip poplar secondary;
later brass pulls
Gift of Kitty Cottingham in memory of her husband George L. Cottingham, Jr. through the Decorative Arts Trust 2011
Francisco Zuñiga (b. Costa
Rica, 1912-1998) was a Mexican sculptor and printmaker. Like the Mexican
muralists, Zuñiga was inspired by Aztec sculpture, evident in the simplified
forms that emphasize the dignity and heroism of his subjects. Grandmother and Child is typical of his
work: the figures are in traditional poses, dressed in native costumes, with
facial features that identify them as Mexican. His celebration of native people
aligns him with such artists as Diego Rivera, Frieda Kahlo, and David Alfaro
The bequest is especially
significant because of Thomas and Harriet Stern’s life long involvement with
Zúñiga, Mexican, b. Costa Rica (1912-1998)
and Child, 1978
Thomas and Harriet Stern 2013
Crazy quilts, composed of boldly colored scraps of cloth sewn together in seemingly random patterns, are among the most vibrant and innovative textiles of the Victorian period. Thanks to the generosity of Mr. and Mrs. Hardy Todd, the museum now possesses a superb example of this art form. Members of the prominent Overton and Snowden families created this work at Annesdale House, one of the city’s greatest architectural treasures. In addition to very fine appliqué and embroidery over silk blocks, the quilt includes several hand-painted blocks of birds and flowers.
Snowden and Overton Family Members, active ca.
Quilt–Crazy Patchwork Pattern,
silk and other fabrics with silk binding and backing, cotton batting, oil-based pigments
Bohemian Art Glass
Newly added to the museum’s collection—thanks to the generosity of Jan and Ron Coleman—is an exquisite group of Bohemian Art Glass. Mimicking iridescent silk, butterfly wings, or mother-of-pearl, these objects exemplify the extraordinary creativity of glassmakers working around 1900 in Bohemia (present day Czech Republic). Among the most extraordinary of the pieces is a bowl by the Kralik factory. It is a superb example of flowing, organic Art Nouveau design (literally “new art” in French). The bowl’s splendid pewter frame, featuring a woman’s head set among stylized flowers, beautifully echoes the gold and violet of the glass itself. Its consummate combination of materials and extraordinary design mark this bowl as a masterpiece of Bohemian Art Glass.
Glasfabrik Johann Loetz-Witwe
Klaštersky Mlyn, Czech Republic
Vase with Candia Silberiris Astartig Décor, ca.1900
Gift of Ron and Jan Coleman 2012
Glasfabrik Johann Loetz-Witwe
Klaštersky Mlyn, Czech Republic
Vase with Coppelia Décor, ca. 1900
Gift of Ron and Jan Coleman 2012
WILHELM KRALIK SOHN
ELEONORANHEIN, CZECH REPUBLIC BOWL, CA. 1900
BLOWN GLASS WITH PEWTER FRAME
GIFT OF RON AND JAN COLEMAN 2012
Dutch, Flemish, and German Paintings
Thanks to the extraordinary generosity of Thomas Morgan Roberts in memory
of his parents Emily Allen Roberts and James Thomas Roberts, the Brooks
recently received a collection of sixteen Dutch, Flemish, and German Old Master paintings. This spectacular gift, which includes one of Hendrick Cornelisz van der Vliet’s celebrated church interiors as well as an entrancing panel by Frans Francken the Younger depicting a barber’s shop, greatly enriches the museum’s holdings. The
group of paintings represents the work of a true connoisseur—a person who
fully understood fine art, and who thoughtfully assembled this private collection. Three of these pictures, selected for their beauty, quality, and excellent state of preservation, are on view in the Schering Plough Gallery.
Hendrick Cornelisz. van der Vliet, Dutch, ca. 1611-1675
Interior of the Oude Kerk, Delft, ca. 1640
Oil on oak panel
Gift of Thomas Morgan Roberts in
memory of his parents Emily Allen Roberts
and James Thomas Roberts
Covered vase, Meissen Porcelain Works
This wonderfully intricate vase—covered with life-like flowers, bugs, and bees, as well as cherubs, crowns, a coat of arms, and cameo portrait—is a fine example of late Meissen porcelain. Although probably most famous during the 18th century, this factory produced works of great quality and innovation, like this one, during the Victorian era. The vase was made to commemorate a member of the Saxon royal house; the portrait and coat of arms probably represent Carola von Vasa (1833-1907), Princess of Sweden and Queen of Saxony. She and her husband, King Albert (1828-1902), often gave Meissen objects as diplomatic gifts. The vase joins a small but select group of porcelains, and is particularly welcome as a complement to the pieces of early Meissen already in the collection.
Meissen Porcelain Works, German
Covered Vase, ca. 1905
Gift of Ailene Titche Burson, 2007
Photographs by Various Artists
In honor of Kaywin Feldman’s nine years of passionate and distinguished service as director of the Brooks Museum (1999-2007), a group of generous supporters donated funds to acquire photographs in her honor. Photography was an area of particular interest to Kaywin and she astutely acquired artists ranging from Alfred Stieglitz to Lalla Essaydi.
Aaron Siskind (American, 1903–1991)
Gelatin silver print, 1957 reprint
Memphis Brooks Museum of Art purchase with funds donated by William and Melinda Bagley, and Howard Foote with a match by Pfizer in honor Kaywin Feldman, Director, 1999-2007
Andre Kertesz (Hungarian, 1894–1985)
Washington Square Park, New York, 1957
Gelatin silver print, later reprint.
Memphis Brooks Museum of Art purchase with funds donated by Dr. James K. Patterson and Dr. Rushton E. Patterson in honor of Kaywin Feldman, Director, 1999-2007
Alfred Eisenstaedt (American, 1898–1995)
Future Ballerinas, 1937
Gelatin silver print, later reprint.
Memphis Brooks Museum of Art purchase with funds donated by Katie and Jack Shannon, Mr. and Mrs. Jerry F. Gay, Mr. and Mrs. Claude McCord, Mr. and Mrs. Clint Pearson, Harry Goldsmith with matching funds from AutoZone, Eleanor Baer, Andrew Clarkson, Reneé Guibao, Paul and Christina Guibao, Ann J. Huckaba, Al and Janet Lyons, Mr. and Mrs. Fred Montesi, and Buzzy Hussey in honor Kaywin Feldman, Director, 1999-2007
Marcos Lopez Photography
These photographs were purchased with funds provided by Brooks Museum board presidents Kevin Adams, Will Deupree, Henry Doggrell, Michael Fryt, Harriet Stern on behalf of her husband Dr. Tom Stern, and Joe Weller, in honor of Kaywin Feldman and her nine years as director. During her tenure, Kaywin focused on expanding the photography collection and acquired 389 works by such artists as Ernest Withers, Helen Levitt, Alfred Stieglitz, David Levinthal, Bernd and Hilla Becher, Lalla Essaydi, Eadweard Muybridge, Aaron Siskind, Weegee, Fred Wilson, and Ray Metzker.
Marcos Lopez, (Argentine, b. 1958)
Falcon, Santa Fe From Paisajes Urbanos 2002
Memphis Brooks Museum of Art purchase with funds provided by Brooks Museum board presidents
Joe Weller, Kevin Adams, Will Deupree, Henry Doggrell, Michael Fryt, and Harriet Stern on behalf of her husband Dr. Tom Stern in honor of Kaywin Feldman, Director 1999-2007
La femme en vert (The Woman in Green)
An active member of the Parisian avant-garde and a colleague of Henri Matisse (1869-1954) and Georges Rouault (1871-1958), Leon Bonhomme remains a comparatively unknown artist. The artist’s La femme en vert, boldly painted in contrasting reds, blues, and greens and fully capturing the sitter’s intense personality, suggests both Bonhomme’s immense talent and his passionate response to life. Reacting to a difficult personal relationship, after 1900 Bonhomme became increasingly antisocial, rarely exhibited his works publicly, and painted less frequently.
Bonhomme’s La femme en vert is a wonderful complement to the other Post-Impressionist works already in the museum’s collection. A loosely organized group, the Post-Impressionists emerged in Paris around 1890. Like the Impressionists, they were fascinated by color, the thick application of paint, and distinctive brushstrokes. However, the Post-Impressionists sought to move beyond what they saw as the triviality of the mundane world. As a result they often used distorted forms, skewed perspective, and unnatural or arbitrary colors to achieve expressive, rather than purely realistic, effects.
Leon Bonhomme (French, 1870-1924)
La femme en vert (The Woman in Green), 1909
Oil on paper
Signed and dated: lower right
Memphis Brooks Museum of Art Purchase; Funds provided by Mr. and Mrs. Larry Duggins 2007
In 1990, the Brooks received a generous gift of livres d’artistes (artists’ books) from Isabel and Charles Goodman. Livres d’artistes are illustrated with original prints and photographs rather than reproductions. The museum is committed to building upon this important collection and has continued to acquire books that document the expansion of interest in bookmaking that began in the 1960s and continues unabated today.
This expansion is partially tied to new technologies as well as politics—inexpensively produced multiples can be more widely disseminated, and the low cost of some of the processes can be a form of rebellion against the art market. North Drive Press, a boxed compendium of records, cds, posters, and patches by a diverse group of artists, includes some materials that are offset-prints, which is a process used to produce very large print runs. It is just one example of some recent acquisitions that exploit new computer technologies in the production of deeply quirky and personal projects.
North Drive Press, No. 2, June, 2005
North Drive Press, New York, N.Y., edition of 500
Memphis Brooks Museum of Art; Gift of Marina Pacini and David McCarthy 2006.23.10a-ll
Sandy Skoglund Photography
Doctors James and Rushton Patterson have once again made generous donations to the Brooks. James Patterson, recognized for his important photography collection, gave two works by Sandy Skoglund. Skoglund is known for photographs of staged environments that are characterized by saturated color and the overwhelming repetition of materials or elements—as in Gathering Paradise, where the bright blue and pink patio and kitchen are overrun by squirrels. The results are dreamlike images that invite viewers to think more about the relationship between nature and manmade environments.
Pre-Columbian, Colima Art
Among the objects Rushton Patterson presented the museum are a pottery bowl and two ceremonial axe heads from the Pre-Columbian Colima culture of Western Mexico. Probably intended as grave goods, these objects show the beautiful forms and fine finish typical of Colima art. The bowl and axes join a growing collection of South and Meso-American works at the Brooks.
Sandy Skoglund, (American, b. 1946)
Gathering Paradise, 1991
Gift of Dr. James K. Patterson, 2006
Colima, Mexico, State of Colima
Bowl, ca. 250 B.C.E. - 200 C.E.
Gift of Dr. Rushton E. Patterson Jr. 2006
Recent Acquisition By Stanton Thomas, Ph.D., Curator of European and Decorative Art
A gift from the Decorative Arts Trust, this monumental sideboard attributed to Anthony Quervelle is the first piece of American Empire furniture to enter the collection. The style evolved out of French fashions popular during the reign of Emperor Napoleon I (1769-1821). However, while Quervelle drew inspiration from European furniture, his details are uniquely American. Here he enriched the sideboard’s doors with cornucopias overflowing with fruits and vegetables. These suggest the bountiful, fertile plains of United States. Quervelle included ears of corn among this abundant produce. The grain originated in the New World and was often used as a symbol of America.
Born and trained in France, Quervelle arrived in Philadelphia around 1817. He quickly established a reputation for superbly crafted furniture made of dark, richly grained mahogany and beautiful carving. Likewise—as exemplified in the sideboard—Quervelle often enlivened his pieces with innovative concave and convex surfaces.
Attributed to Anthony Quervelle, French (active United
States), 1789-1856 Sideboard, ca. 1835
Mahogany veneer and solids over
pine and oak; brass hinges and key stock, iron and wood rollers