Behind the Scenes: Art on the Road

Did you know that works from the Gibbes Museum of Art are currently hanging in museums in Philadelphia and Houston? Since February 2008, the painting, Ms. Johnson (Estelle), by Barkley Hendricks (American, b. 1945), has been traveling in the major exhibition, Barkley L. Hendricks: Birth of the Cool. Organized by The Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, Birth of the Cool is the artist’s first career retrospective and is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue. While Ms. Johnson is missed, we are proud that over the past two years more than 75,000 people have seen this painting at institutions across the country including the Studio Museum in Harlem, the Santa Monica Museum of Art, and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. The exhibition is currently on view at the Contemporary Arts Museum in Houston, Texas. We look forward to her return in May 2010. You can be sure she will have good travel stories. 

Ms. Johnson (Estelle), by Barkley Hendricks

Ms. Johnson (Estelle), by Barkley Hendricks

If you find yourself in Philadelphia between February and August, 2010, check out the Gibbes portrait of Mrs. Charles Cotesworth Pinckney (Sarah Middleton) by Henry Benbridge at the National Constitution Center. 

Mrs. Charles Cotesworth Pinckney (Sarah Middleton), ca. 1774, by Henry Benbridge

Mrs. Charles Cotesworth Pinckney (Sarah Middleton), ca. 1774, by Henry Benbridge

This striking painting features prominently in the exhibition, Ancient Rome & America, which showcases the cultural, political, and social connections between ancient Rome and modern America. Sarah Middleton Pinckney is exhibited among a collection of rare artifacts and artwork borrowed from major museums in both the United States and Italy. The exhibition runs from February 19 through August 1, 2010. 

Loans from our collection are also on view at venues closer to home. Don’t miss the Gibbes painting of Mary Ann Bentham (Mrs. Thomas Grange Simons) by Thomas Wightman and the miniature portrait of Mrs. Nathaniel Russell Middleton (Anna Elizabeth De Wolf), 1842 by Anne Hall, featured in Aisle Style: 150 Years of Wedding Fashion at the Charleston Museum through September 2010. 

Miniature portrait of Mrs. Nathaniel Russell Middleton (Anna Elizabeth De Wolf) currently on loan to The Charleston Museum

Miniature portrait of Mrs. Nathaniel Russell Middleton (Anna Elizabeth De Wolf) currently on loan to The Charleston Museum

One behind-the-scenes note about objects on loan: before a piece from the collection is approved for loan to another institution, the curatorial staff must review the object’s condition to make sure it is stable enough to make the trip. An in-depth condition assessment of Mrs. Charles Cotesworth Pinckney revealed that the painting itself was in good condition however the original 18th century frame had a few issues. As a result, the National Constitution Center paid for the necessary frame conservation as a requirement of loan. Nancy Newton, a frame conservator and gilder here in Charleston, worked on the frame to stabilize flaking gilt and fill areas of loss.  The painting with newly conserved frame left for Philadelphia in late January.

Mrs. Pinckney traveled to Philadelphia in this custom-built crate

Mrs. Pinckney traveled to Philadelphia in this custom-built crate

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