On January 21, 1961, the Amon Carter Museum of Western Art opened its doors to the public for the first time. The museum was a gift to the people of Fort Worth, a place to see and learn about great works of art. Amon G. Carter made clear that this museum would always be free and open to the public, a policy we still follow today.
Do you remember your first visit to the Amon Carter? Did any exhibits offer special meaning to you? Share your memories with us this year as we look back at our history and look forward to our future. Join the conversation here on our blog, friend us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter and help us celebrate.
Yesterday we made a lot of progress toward installing Nature Bound: Illustrated Botanical Books. All the books are now mounted on their cradles and secured to the cases. All the large information panels are also in place. At the tail end of the day, we started setting the light levels in the space. Since this is an exhibition that includes delicate watercolored images, the lights have to be around 5 foot candles in order to preserve the color. In fact, at about half way through the show, we'll have to switch all the illustrations that have watercolor, so there will be an opportunity to see even more spectacular images. Yesterday we also placed the custom case that will show the fascinating samples of wood from Romeyn Hough's American Woods. The case has backlighting that will allow visitors to study the coloring and patterning of the wood. The case is pictured rather murkily in the bottom right hand corner of the image below.
Last summer, the Amon Carter was awarded a $150,000 grant from the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to digitize and catalog approximately 25,000 photographs from our permanent collection. Work began on the project in the fall, and we are happy to say that we’ve already digitized over 1,000 photographs and cataloged even more. Due to preservation practices and the enormity of our photography collection, these works are exhibited only rarely and many have never been seen by the public.
As the photos are digitized, we’ll post some here on the blog to share with you. Check back often for rarely- and never-before-seen works from the photography collection in posts titled 'Analog to Digital.'
Our first installment comes from one of the first objects digitized under the IMLS grant, an album containing nearly 200 tourist images, all by an unknown photographer, from around the turn of the century. These four pictures just seemed to jump out as I worked on their cataloging.
Mr. McMasters, Mr. Osborne, Mr. Ballor. Redlands., gelatin silver print, ca. 1900-1910
Bridge Accident at Tempe, Arizona, 1902, gelatin silver print, 1902
Tempe, Arizona., gelatin silver print, ca. 1900-1910
[Pen of ostriches], gelatin silver print, ca. 1900-1910
Work continues on the installation of Nature Bound: Illustrated Botanical Books. The exhibition features 41 objects, mainly books, and the museum's installation and preparation crew had to make custom acrylic cradles to display each book. As they installed each cradle, a lot of fine tuning is necessary to hold the pages open to an illustration without damaging the book. Also, each case has different dimensions, requiring that each cradle and book be placed appropriate to the case's size. It's a slow process. Still, I think they finished almost five cases by yesterday. At the tail end of the day, they also brought up the very large text panels in preparation for hanging them above the cases today. Stay tuned ... it's looking good!
Hi library fans,
Yesterday was the first installation day for Nature Bound: Illustrated Botanical Books, an exhibition featuring a who's who list of great illustrated botanical works from the collections of the Amon Carter and the Botanical Research Institute of Texas research libraries. You all have probably learned from reading the various Amon Carter blogs that exhibition planning starts months, even years, before an exhibition opens to the public, so yesterday's install of the first book/case was reason for cheering. I must say, as co-curator for the exhibition, I feel like this is going to be a handsome and informative one, so mark your calendars for opening day, January 29. Here are a few behind-the-scenes shots of the day's activities. Forgive the quality of these, but it's best I could do with my mobile phone.
Alice Vanderbilt Shepard is the subject of a lovely painting by John Singer Sargent, whose birthday we remember today. Sargent was a renowned artist in great demand when he was commissioned to paint a portrait of Alice's mother, Margaret Louise Vanderbilt Shepard. Apparently Sargent was so taken by Alice that he asked to paint her, one of the few subjects of his own choosing.
By the way, the portrait of Alice's mother is just down the road at the San Antonio Museum of Art.
Recently we received thank you letters and cards from elementary students who had visited the museum on a gallery teacher-led tour. We were so enamored with these heart-felt notes and hand-drawn pictures that we wanted to share them with you. We’ll put up a couple each week, so be sure to come back soon!
2011 is just around the corner! Remember this week is your last chance to see the Carter's exhibition American Modern: Abbott, Evans, Bourke-White before it travels to the Art Institute of Chicago and Colby College Museum of Art. And if you can't visit us before the New Year, you can also see a full listing of the Carter's 2011 exhibitions here.
Albert Abramovitz (1879-1963), New Year's Eve, wood engraving, ca. 1934