Today’s post comes from Julie MacDonald, Class of 2012 and Art Center Student Docent.

The Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center is proud to present A Pioneering Collection: Master Drawings from the Crocker Art Museum. The exhibition features an exquisite collection of European drawings and will be on display in the Art Center through December 11, 2011. James Mundy, Anne Hendricks Bass Director of the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center and organizer of this exhibition, was kind enough to answer a few questions regarding the exhibition.

A View of the Elbe River and the Bastei Rocks in the Sӓchsische Schweiz, Saxony, N.D., Adrian Zingg (Swiss, 1734- 1816), Pen and black and dark brown ink, brush and brown washes on off-white wove paper Crocker Art Museum

At Vassar the focus of the collection, and many of the recent special exhibits, tends more toward the modern spectrum of the art world. What inspired you to collaborate with a collection of Master Drawings for this exhibit?

I feel that it’s important for our exhibition offerings to complement all aspects of the visual arts curriculum, historical as well as contemporary.  We need to expose our visitors to all the artistic “food groups” for their balanced visual nutrition.


As the director of an art center utilized for educational purposes, do you subscribe to Mr. Breazeale’s speculation that the Crockers collected these works with the establishment of an art school in mind?

That is a very plausible hypothesis given the wide range of geographical, temporal, technical, and stylistic characteristics of these drawings. Let’s be happy, though, that this plan never reached fruition.  That guaranteed the drawings excellent state of preservation to this day.

How do you think this exhibit supplements the works typically available to the Vassar student in the permanent collection?

These are simply rare and beautiful objects that one encounters very infrequently in the course of one’s life.  Since they are works on paper, they are only occasionally seen by the public and we are given a tremendous opportunity to  experience the artist at work in the process of aesthetic problem-solving.  They also complement an important and not often seen part of our own collection.  We are quite proud of our holdings of Old Master Drawings.


If you were able to choose one of the pieces to join the permanent collection here at FLLAC, which would you choose and why?

Please don’t tempt me not to return one of the drawings!  If one happens not to go back to Sacramento and I’m to blame, it will probably be Sir Peter Lely’s Two Clerics from the Procession of the Order of the Garter.  It’s masterful in its portrayal of the draperies and in extremely fresh condition.  Although, I could make an equally good case for Adrian Zingg’s view of the Elbe river.  But, while we’re on the subject why restrict it to one?  Let’s go “all in” and keep the Dürer as well!

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