Good evening ladies and gentlemen. My names Ron Bishop. Im the director of Galleries and Museums at Edison State College and it is indeed my pleasure to welcome you to the redesigned
Edison Gallery, Julia and Richard Rush.
I am so happy so many of you have joined us this evening. I apologize for the amount of chairs that we have but I probably this won’t be an extremely long time. This truly is a celebration for our students. And certainly our opportunity to acknowledge our Generous and very dear friend, the Rushes. This exhibition is titled High response to impressionism.
And its spans some 500 years of painting. With an early 15th century incredible masterpiece by (inaudible) titled Madonna and Child of Saint John, as a starting point we get a sense of the development of painting over the centuries as well as how it reflects the changing values in society.
And our students can see this. Almost any time they want. In person. Not in a book. And. What this means to Edison is tremendous. We can deliver a learning experience an opportunity that allows our students to see and experience work by artists that are icons in history. Artists like Raphael, Louis, Rembrandt, Veronese, Rubens, Manet, Renoir, Turner.
And there is something in every single one of these paintings to attract and engage our students. And previously these paintings have been exhibited in several museums including the Hood Museum at Dartmouth, the Fine Art Gallery in San Diego as well as the Finch collection, Finch Museum of Art.
And we are truly privileged to have the opportunity to show his work. And at this time I like to is president of Edison State College. Dr. Jeff Allbritten.
Thank you Ron. Good evening. Good evening and welcome. This is a wonderful turnout.
So glad to see so many community supporters, friends, members of our foundation board, trustees, students along with faculty. That’s a great turnout tonight.
Thank you all for coming out to support this. Isn’t this a lovely room
to be in. Now. You wouldn’t want to have a class in here. You’d get nothing done whatsoever.
I want to start off by thanking our benefactor Julia Rush for all the support
you have shown this institution. And tonight it’s really at it’s pinnacle of the loaning of this wonderful exhibit and how this has been shown tonight.
It’s really (inaudible) Edison State college. We thank you so much for all you’ve done and making this possible. We look forward to the future and all the things we can do. We hope that you will tell your friends what you’re seeing tonight and to come out and take advantage and this is right here our community this opportunity to see. We believe we are a center of cultural awareness here where we’re just so happy to have this as a part of our overall collection.
Thank you for being here. I was going to give a 25 minute speech but I thought its a little warm so I’ll let you go.
And as Dr Allbritten was mentioned, the Rush’s have been great friends of the colleges for many years. And I first met Richard and Julia in about
15 years ago when I first came to the college, and since that time they have given tens of thousands of dollars to support our annual student art show.
Just the art show. Not to mention the other scholarships and the other things they have done so they have indeed been great friends of the students of this college.
In mounting a new exhibit and redesigning a gallery, as you might suspect,
It takes a lot of support and assistance. And I literally have the help from almost every department on campus. Facilities, Maintenance, legal, security, the foundation department all the nice business office and on.
Additionally I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Dr. Edith Pendleton. Edith has been (unintelligible Dean of Literary Resources?) resources.
And her commitment has made this gallery and the development of this exhibit possible.
And Edith thank you. Yes.
When I first started thinking about the process of developing the space for this new exhibit, I asked whether Edisons faculty, whether if he would be interested in working on a project with me. I don’t think I had to go much further than to mention Raphael and Lugini and Dr (unintelligible) was hooked. I asked the Dr (unintelligible) if he would help with the research on this exhibition and to help develop a catalogue and Web site that would be another educational tool to support this original exhibit.
And I have to admit We’ve had a terrific time, working together and making discoveries about the work and artists in this exhibit. Just a couple of notes about the process. We started with each piece and looking at kind of making our own observations. And what was really nice about our partnership was we bring something completely different each of us brings something completely different to the table. Dr. Goodwin comes from an academic background.
And looking at what sort of Links of all these things and through the humanities. I come from a more technical painting background. So we’ve both brought different sets of eyes to the project and as we start looking at each individual piece and having discussions about the work what we saw and what we wanted to explore just became evident quickly. And it was really a productive combination of interest and expertise. We each saw things from a different perspective and together gave us insights that we might not have found individually.
And tell you all about the exhibit Some of the exciting things that we found. It’s my pleasure to introduce Dr. (inaudible)
Well what Ron was right, my beating heart Ive said tonight it really belongs to the Renaissance and the late renaissance. And so literally he didn’t have to mention much more than Rafael and I was hooked. I wanted to be involved with it and I’m very glad that I was involved with it. Some of the things that I know that Ron and I have both looked at each individual painting up close.
We’ve seen little things that didn’t seem to quite fit and some things that were Absolutely brilliantly masterfully done. I mean jaw droppingly brilliantly done. And he comes to it from the perspective of the painter and I come to it from a more historical and academic perspective. Knowing more of what the process of making art was like from the Renaissance and as and as the interests of the subjects in art changed through the years. And between his notice of This subtlety of painting detail and my knowledge of why that might be coming from this particular time, we found some really amazing things.
Now I’m not going to bore you with all of the fascinating things that I found in them collectively this is eventually going to go On a Web site that will be directed and you can literally follow the thread as we’re planning it. You can follow the thread and see OK. This is like this is like this is like this. And you’ll see the process of the interests of culture and the process of painting as it develops from the 1500’s, the 15th century all the way through the early 20th century.
Some of the threads that I want to focus on that you can look for are things that have to do with the broad picture of how culture changes from the Renaissance to the late 19th and early 20th century. This afternoon Ron and I were having a conversation and we’re saying you could literally put a swivel office chair in the middle of the gallery and turn around and see visually the changes in culture that have happened from the 1500’s to the 1900’s. You’ll notice the one wall is devoted mostly to the Renaissance And the subject matter that is most dear to the heart of the Renaissance has to do with religious painting. You’ll see an angel in the Saint Tobias.
You’ll see an image of John the Baptist which probably came from a part of an alter piece. You’ll see The most beautiful piece in the entire collection which I believe to be the Virgin and Child with John the Baptist In the middle. Coming from the late Renaissance.
And then you move a little bit beyond the renaissance into the late renaissance when a time when people were more interested in looking outside of religion and realizing re-evaluating the worthiness of the individual. And so you see portraiture. Individuals focused. You see Rembrandt. You see (unintelligble). And the theme of the interest in the individual carries through into the
19th century when you see Hofner at the very end toward the very end of the chronology that we have represented here. So there’s that interest and then eventually even turning away from self-interest and the interest of the individual to outside the self, to nature. So you have a landscape scenes by Turner. And you see Renoir’s fishing scene. Et cetera and it kind of completes the cycle of the interests of culture as reflected in paintings. And I got to tell you as a professor of humanities; That’s what I teach. That process is what I teach. And it excites me to see it here. And what excites me more than that is just here is that it is expressed in a way that students will find and I think more accessible than reading about it in a textbook. Because if you realized as you read through a textbook you see this much space at one time and a picture or two maybe
And you read and you don’t really get a sense of the context of things and how things move and change but you can in a gallery space. And here it is you can literally trace the interests of culture. From the Renaissance to the impressionists. In our
Thank you. There are more interests than just humanities that are served
by this gallery. We also have applied art and painting classes and those; I’m kind of out of my element because I’m not a painter but we have applied art in painting classes here too. Reflected in this gallery is not only the accomplished work of masters But next to the accomplished work of masters. There is evidence of student work.
Or people who are influenced by the masters in the paintings reflected here. Through the Renaissance, and probably even before the Renaissance, but my heart goes to the renaissance soI go there first. From the time of the Renaissance, through the 19th century, artists were trained in somebody else’s studio under somebody else’s tutelage. A gifted student would come toa Rafael. Brought there by their parents and their parents would say we think he has a he or she has a gift at drawing.
Can you train? Can you teach? And a contract would be made and the student would stay with the teacher. And would slowly over the course of years and time learn the skill of the master. Now while the student is learning the master has to produce paintings and altar pieces and portraits and you name it.
But the student can be used to help supply some of the work. Some of the little work that maybe the student is learning to do while the master does the really difficult stuff. And anybody ever tried to do an eye? Try to make two eyes match?
I failed that one. But this is the sort of thing that a teacher will teach and a student will learn. So as a student gets more accomplished more difficult tasks will be assigned to the student.
And you can see that process physically happening in these paintings.
That’s another thread that I think you can follow on the website. The, the training of a student and the process of what it takes to make an accomplished painter and an accomplished piece of Painting.
Some of the pieces that exhibit that relationship of teacher and student include the Rembrandt. One of the first things that Ron and I noticed about the Rembrandt was the one eye.
So as you go by and you might notice what is going on with that one eye?
One of the thoughts that occurred to us is maybe this is a student work. Maybe it’s, you know,
here’s the here’s the model eye on the one side. You try and imitate this eye on
the other side. This is the piece that has Rembrandt signature on the back.
So perhaps. Initially they want to put his signature on the front because
he wasn’t sure if he wanted to
sell it. And then eventually having a large studio and a lot of works to sell from his studio. He eventually said well that’s good enough to sell and I know the paint already trying to find a better put my name on the back and then sell it that way. Painting was not solely inspiration in the Renaissance.
Painting was a business. People wanted to learn to paint because you can make your, you can make your fortune that way; you can make your living as a successful artist, as a painter there are some almost complete pieces here too. I think Ron and I would agree that the most accomplished perfect piece Is the Virgin and Child with the John the Baptist. That’s the heart of this exhibit.
But there are other pieces and they all have fascinating stories. One of the most fascinating stories that comes to my mind is the Hofner. Don’t miss it. It’s all the way over at the end.
Above the, what do you call that piece of beautiful poetry. Comode. Above the commode.
Below the lettering that says rubbish collection. Hofner was one of the, was the leading portrait artist in Britain in the end of the 19th century If this is one of the last pieces that he ever painted perhaps the last piece he did. We believe this is so because. .. he didn’t finish it.
It is perfect and it is complete except that there are some little red lines and these are some of the anomalies that Ron and I looked at and said everything else is perfect. it’s flawless. The eyes, the skin, the clothing, the background. It all fits. it’s perfect. Who put these little red marks
here and what the heck are they doing there. We find out later that this was in Hofners studio when he died. Likely he was working on this as his last portrait or one of his last portraits
And simply wasn’t able to finish it because well he had to die first.
So we have this and lots of other fascinating stories. That each one of these pictures can tell.
And more of these stories will be up and available once we have the website up and running probably in the middle of summer. So stay tuned.
And enjoy the exhibit. Thank you.
That concludes the presentation for the evening. Thank you so much for joining us. Hope to see you again and drive safely.