Dilecta: Reflections on a Permanent Collection
Part II: Origins and Flourishes
NOVEMBER 18–FEBRUARY 10
The Chapel Art Center is pleased to present Dilecta, Reflections on a Permanent Collection, Part II: Origins and Flourishes. While the first installation was more concerned with a disparate variety of works to exhibit many genres and areas of interest within the collection, this second installment focuses on works that are original to the college's collection, or that signify growth within particular areas of interest.
Look, for example, at the colorful Louis Graner landscape hanging to your right. This wonderful impressionist work has been in the college's collection for almost a century. Many other works in this section of the gallery, including Fr. Raphaelís Portrait of Abbot Hilary Pfraengle, signify an early artistic milieu in Saint Anselm Collegeís culture. It also tells us of how the works have been beloved and preserved.
In the next section of the gallery, the intimate setting fosters a relationship among works from the MacDonald Collection, a special subset of the permanent collection dedicated to religious works and domestic scenes. Founded in 2002, this collection is meant to promote an understanding of the mysteries of Catholic faith and enliven the values of family life.
In the large salon area of the gallery, there are other signs of growth, with new interests stemming either from donorsí gifts or, in some instances, fortuitous acquisition opportunities. The gift of the Dunlap chest-on-chest, standing prominently, led to a focus on early American furniture, decorative arts, New England works, and the Hudson River School landscapes. Near the Dunlap chest is Elizabeth Grandinís Portrait of a Lady in Lilac and Gold, discovered while acquiring Marian Harrisí Still Life with Copper Bowl, marking a moment when a new concentration of women modernists began to appear on the market. Since then we have been garnering works by these ambitious women artists, emerging in the early 20th century, who studied with well-established male artists a generation ahead of them.
Of particular note is the inclusion of Ernest Lawsonís Winter, Tibbett’s Creek, signaling a new interest in collecting important American works created at the same time this very chapel was built, and when Saint Anselm College was still a fairly young, burgeoning institution. Lawsonís landscape embodies the movement towards the modern in American art, when the practice of painting was changing radically, welcoming a whole new generation of artists, such as the above-mentioned Elizabeth Grandin portrait!
The care and cultivation of art is why the Chapel Art Center came to be. These works glimmer almost, boasting our artistic legacy and history, and positioning our values. They speak as much to each other as they speak to us, communicating the power of human creativity, and the beauty to be born out of every human endeavor.