1991-1995 Exhibitions

Past Exhibitions, 1991–1995

Stitching Memories: African-American Story Ouilts
January 31–March 10, 1991

Organized by the Williams College Museum of Art, this exhibition presented more than 30 quilts created by folk and schooled artists. The quilts record milestones in personal, family, and community histories; document political events and social movements; and tell stories from the Bible and African-American literature. (Catalogue)

Oliver Newberrv Chaffee (1881-1944)
May 9–August 18, 1991
Bridging the European and American visual traditions of the early 20th century, this American modernist’s oil and watercolor paintings reflect his involvements with cubism, fauvism, and the art of New Guinea. Solveiga Rush, associate professor of art at the University of Cincinnati, acted as guest curator. (Catalogue)

Tang Ceramics from the Hartman Collection
September 19–October 27, 1991

The Tang dynasty (A.D. 618-906) has long been considered one of the most splendid in China’s long and turbulent history. In this period of territorial expansion, China became, in its cultural, commercial, and religious contacts, more cosmopolitan than ever before. And it nurtured a great flowering in the arts, especially ceramics. The best-known Tang ceramics are tomb figures as seen in this exhibition. (Click here to purchase catalogue)

In Praise and in Prayer: Jewish and Christian Devotional Objects
November 21, 1991–Januarv 19, 1992
This exhibition was a collaborative effort of Marilyn Reichert, director of the Skirball Museum, Cincinnati branch; Grace Cohen Grossman, curator of the Skirball Museum, Los Angeles branch; and Abby Schwartz, curator of education at the Taft. Devotional objects were assembled from these museums to explore aspects of religious worship with sensitivity and respect and to place the winter holidays within the context of systems of belief.

Tributes to the Tafts
February 4–March 29, 1992
This exhibition celebrated the 60th anniversary of the Taft Museum. Various local artists of national and international reputation who have participated in other programs at the Taft were commissioned to make works for a Taft show and to offer these works for sale to those who are building their own collections in emulation of Anna Sinton and Charles Phelps Taft.

Empires Restored, Elysium Revisited: The Art of Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema
April 22–June 14, 1992
This was the most comprehensive exhibition of Alma-Tadema’s work ever held in the United States. It was organized by the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute of Williamstown, Massachusetts. The exhibition included 49 oil paintings, watercolors, drawings, and prints from American museums and private collections, among them A World of Their Own, purchased by the Tafts shortly after its completion in 1905. (Catalogue)

Cavaliers and Cardinals: Nineteenth-Century French Anecdotal Painting
June 26–August 16, 1992
Organized by the Taft Museum of Art with Dr. Eric M. Zafran, associate curator of European paintings, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, serving as guest curator, this exhibition of 64 works of art included oil paintings, watercolors, and pastels that provide the first serious review in many decades of a neglected area of art history. The works dated from the late 1840s to the turn of the century and are by masters of French anecdotal genre. Among the artists represented were Jean-Louis Ernest Meissonier, Jehan-Georges Vibert, Jean-Leon Gerome, Charles Bargue, Jules Worms, and Spanish-born Eduardo Azmacois y Zabala. (Catalogue)

Dutch Drawings from the Age of Van Gogh from the Collection of the Haags Gemeentemuseum
September 17–November 8, 1992
This exhibition was conceived and organized by the Haags Gemeentemuseum, The Hague, The Netherlands, at the invitation of the Taft Museum of Art in celebration of its 60th anniversary year, and offered some familiar names, artists of the Hague School represented in the Museum’s permanent collections: Jacob, Matthijs, and Willem Maris, Anton Mauve, Jozef Israels, and Johan Hendrik Weissenbruch. Others in the exhibition included more artists of Hague School, who, like their Barbizon School counterparts in France, infused the landscape tenants of the 17th century with a new, natural approach that depended on direct observation and sketches made outdoors. (Click here to purchase catalogue – limited availability)

Italian Old Master Drawings from the Collection of Jeffrey E. Horvitz
November 20, 1992–January 10, 1993
The 38 drawings in this exhibition included religious subjects, scenes from classical antiquity, and studies of the human body in action and repose. Many were preparatory drawings for finished works. Guest curator Linda Wolk-Simon, assistant curator of the Robert Lehman Collection, The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, wrote a catalogue to accompany this exhibition. (Catalogue)

Tell Me a Story: Narrative Art in Clay and Glass
February 4–April 25, 1993
This exhibition, organized by Cincinnati native Karen Chambers, celebrated the International Year of the Craft and included works in clay and glass by 14 contemporary American artists. This exhibition also highlighted the Museum’s continuing commitment to support living artists, a legacy of patronage initiated by Anna Sinton and Charles Phelps Taft. This exhibit only appeared at the Taft Museum in the United States and then traveled to 14 venues in Southeast Asia over a three-year period under the auspices of Arts America, a branch of the United States Information Agency. (Catalogue)

Looking for Leonardo: Naive and Folk Art Objects Found in America by Bates and Isabel Lowrey
June 18–August 15, 1993
This exhibition was organized by the University of Iowa Museum of Art, Iowa City. For more than four decades Bates Lowry, a Cincinnati native and former director of the Museum of Modern Art, New York, and his wife, Isabel, collected folk art as they traveled throughout the United States. The works in their extensive collection date from the late 18th century through the mid-20th century. Included were examples surveying a wide variety of folk expression: paintings, works on paper, sculpture, quilts and other fabric objects, architectural constructions, toys, tramp art, and vernacular signage, along with other objects that defy classification.

Tarleton Blackwell: Greatest Show of Hogs
September 10–November 21, 1993

This exhibition of seventeen drawings and paintings from Blackwell’s Hog Series of the last ten years explored issues of regionalism, appropriation (the reuse of images from the history of art in the making of contemporary art), and fantasy and reality through portraits of hogs, Blackwell’s family and students, storybook and cartoon images, sites in South Carolina where Blackwell has lived all his life, and quotations from works by the baroque artist Diego Velazquez. (Catalogue)

The Art of the Vessel: Decorative Arts from the Macht Collection
December 10, 1993–February 6, 1994

In celebration of the Machts’ lifelong support of the Cincinnati cultural community, the Taft Museum of Art presented an exhibition of their gifts of art to the Cincinnati Art Museum and selection from their private holdings. Many of the artworks from the Macht collection illustrate the cross-pollination of ideas between the East and West or, at first glance, deceive the eye by appearing to be something other than what they are.

Beyond the Tafts: Cincinnati Collects European Modern Art
March 3–April 24, 1994

Drawn exclusively from local private collections, this exhibition surveyed European paintings, sculpture, and works on paper that were created during the lifetimes of Anna and Charles Taft.

Home on the Range: American Western Art from a Cincinnati Collection
June 17–August 21, 1994

This exhibition rounded out the Year of the Collector at the Taft Museum of Art, a celebration of the contributions of private collectors and artistic patronage in honor of Museum founders, Charles and Anna Taft. Mining the sources of an extensive local collection the curator selected works by American artists including Albert Bierstadt, Henry Farny, Thomas Moran, Frederic Remington, and Charles Russell, all masters of the genre.

Out of the Attic: Forgeries, Treasures, and Curiosities from the Taft Collections
September 14–October 30, 1994

This exhibition anticipated the publication of the first comprehensive catalogue of the Taft Museum of Art collections. The catalogue researchers held up the Museum’s paintings, porcelains, and decorative arts to intense scrutiny and raised many issues of authenticity and attribution. A number of the objects appearing in the exhibition had nothing to do with the Tafts as art collectors. Rather, they reflected their patriotism and devotion to public service. The exhibition also featured European, Chinese, and Near Eastern decorative art objects, some of which have never been on view.

The Expatriate American Artist and Other Selections from a Cincinnati Collection
November 18, 1994–Januarv 15, 1995

Since colonial days, American artists have gone to study in Europe, many of them never returning to their native land. In the last decades of the 19th century, cosmopolitan centers such as Paris, London, and Munich were home to such artists as Elizabeth Nourse, John Singer Sargent, and Frank Duveneck. Works by these and other American artists who found inspiration on foreign shores were featured in this exhibition.

Chinese Snuff Bottles from the Pamela R. Lessing Friedman Collection
March 10–May 28, 1995

More than 100 exquisitely decorated Chinese snuff bottles, predominately dating from the 18th and 19th centuries were featured in this exhibition. The Friedman collection provides a context for better understanding the wide variety of materials (minerals such as jade, quartz, and malachite; organic materials such as ivory, coral, and amber; reverse-painted rock crystal and glass; and porcelain) that Chinese artisans used when crafting these works of art. (Catalogue)

Life Lines: American Master Drawings 1788-1962, from the Munson-Williams-Proctor Institute
June 16–August 20, 1995
Life Lines surveyed more than 175 years of draftsmanship by 57 artists, among them John James Audubon, Robert Blum, Thomas Cole, John Singleton Copely, Frank Duveneck, Lily Martin Spencer, John H. Twachtman, James A. M. Whistler, and Jackson Pollock. Spanning almost the entire history of American art, the exhibition captured many styles and subjects favored by American artists. (Catalogue)

Lifting the Veil: Robert S. Duncanson and the Emergence of the African-American Artist
September 15–November 26, 1995

This was a landmark national exhibition of paintings by Robert S. Duncanson, a freeborn “person of color” who rose from house painter to internationally acclaimed artist in the turbulent mid-1800s. This exhibition was a joint venture between the Taft Museum of Art and the Cincinnati Art Museum. The Taft’s Garden Gallery displayed Duncanson’s work of the 1840s and 1850s, the period of the Taft’s Duncanson murals, while paintings dating from the 1860s and later were shown at the Cincinnati Art Museum. This exhibition included more than 50 paintings, manuscripts, newspapers, books, and drawings from all period of the artist’s career. (Catalogue)

A Christmas in Naples
November 24, 1995–January 7, 1996
Back by popular demand, the amazing Presepio, or nativity creche, from a local collection, was installed in a theatrical setting created by sculptor Theodore Gantz in the formal entrance hall of the museum. Neapolitan villagers, musicians, shepherds, and herds of animals populated the hilly terrain. At the focal point, the Holy Family was sheltered by a magnificent classical ruin with a host of angels descending from the heavens and the three kings making their way from the East, laden with precious gifts for the newborn king.

Chinese Porcelains of the Seventeenth-Century: Landscapes, Scholar’s Motifs, and Narratives
December 15, 1995–February 11, 1996
An exhibition of 65 porcelains from the Transitional Period (ca. 1620-83) and related paintings and decorative arts objects documenting the fall of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and the rise of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). Organized by the China Institute in America, this exhibition, which included loans from the Butler Family Collection in the U.K., was only seen in New York and Cincinnati. This groundbreaking exhibition examined new decorative schemes reflecting the ethical and political changes in China. This exhibition placed the Taft Museum’s collection of nearly 220 early Qing Dynasty ceramics into a broader context. (Catalogue)