January 4, 2009 — The University of Virginia Art Museum is featuring new acquisitions from its Print and African American collections.
On display Jan. 16-March 14 in the first floor gallery are 22 prints, dated from the early 1990s to the present, representing various print techniques used by contemporary artists, many of whom do not traditionally work in this medium.
Of the 22, five works have been added to the collection in the last year. These include an impressive woodcut, "Sarjasta" (2006), by Finish artist Annu Vertanen, and a selection of monotypes by painter Tom McGrath, multimedia artist Susan McClelland, painter Josephine Halvorson and painter Katherine Bowling.
Andrea Douglas, curator of exhibitions, notes that these monotypes in particular suggest the close relationship between painting and printmaking when practiced by contemporary artists.
In the upstairs gallery, several works from the museum's small but growing collection of African-American art are on view. Featured in the installation is the recently acquired "Gamin" (1929) by the renowned Harlem Renaissance artist Augusta Savage. Rendered in painted plaster, the highly expressive portrait bust of Savage's nephew is an iconic work in mid-century American art.
Of special note and on loan to the museum is Romare Bearden's collage "Circe Preparing a Banquet for Ulysses" (1968), one of the largest and most important work of the 1960s by the artist. Also on view in the installation are contemporary works by Kara Walker and Iona Rozeal Brown.
The newly opened Print Study Center features two impressive etchings by the English artist Walter Crane, "The Bridge of Life" and "The Chariot of Hours," from 1884 and 1886, respectively. These works are joined by a print by the French artist Rodolphe Bresdin and a rare print by the sculptor Auguste Rodin.
Also of special interest are two woodcuts by Wasily Kandinsky from the portfolio "Kleine Welten (Small Worlds)" (1922). According to Matthew Affron, curator of modern art, the portfolio ranks as one of the most notable products of the Bauhaus printing shop. It was, in addition, the major printmaking achievement of the second half of Kandinsky's career, and the visual demonstration of theories on the optical and tactile properties of graphic media that the artist would publish in his important theoretical handbook "Point and Line to Plane" in 1926.
Admission to the U.Va. Art Museum is free and it is open to the public Tuesdays through Sundays from noon to 5 p.m.