An Artist at War: Deane Keller, New Haven’s Monuments Man
December 7, 2014 – December 30, 2016
Deane Keller, photograph, circa 1951. Deane Keller papers (MS 1685), Manuscripts and Archives, Yale University Library.
In 1943, Nazi Germany controlled most of Western Europe and the Allies were preparing for the invasion of Italy and France. Urged by American scholars to spearhead an international effort to save and preserve Europe’s cultural treasures, President Franklin D. Roosevelt established a civilian commission to promote the formation of a Monuments, Fine Arts and Archives (MFAA) section of the military. For the first time in history, soldiers whose job it was to protect cultural heritage during wartime were dispatched to Europe. Known as the Monuments Men, these art world professionals included artists, architects, historians, museum directors, curators, and others. Among them was Deane Keller, a painter and professor of art at Yale University.
Keller’s prior experience as an art student in Rome led him to be posted to Italy, where he estimated driving 60,000 miles while leading preservation and restoration efforts that saved thousands of important works of European art. Largely unknown until the 2014 release of the George Clooney movie, “The Monuments Men” (Sony, 2014), the real-life story of Keller and his cohorts is relevant and timely. According to guest curator Laura A. Macaluso, “Today our shared global cultural heritage is being destroyed at an alarming rate in the Middle East, in the very places where civilization first developed 5,000 years ago. History is being rewritten, and not for the better.”
The exhibition features paintings and drawings by Keller, as well as photographic reproductions of material he collected while serving as a Monuments Man in Italy. Among these images are his military identity card, Army uniform patch, dog tags, Fascist propaganda posters, soldier guidebooks, and photos documenting both the destruction and preservation of many treasured art masterpieces. After the war, Keller returned to his family and teaching career in New Haven, and became a successful portrait painter. Today, his public works can be seen throughout New Haven—in City Hall, in the headquarters of the Knights of Columbus and the Fusco Corporation, in Sterling Memorial Library and elsewhere around Yale University.
The exhibition’s opening reception is sponsored by the Amity Club of New Haven, Inc., and the Italian-American Historical Society of Connecticut.
Support for the exhibition and its related programs is provided in part by The Howard Gilman Foundation.
Stories from Far and Near: Refugee Artists in New Haven
June 8 – September 10, 2016
Six artists, Ridha Ali Ahmed, Johnny Mikiki Bombenza, Moussa Gueye, Wurood Mahmood, Dariush Rose, and Maher Shakir, share evocative work and stirring personal stories in this exhibition featuring ceramic and wooden sculpture, photography, oil paintings, handmade ceramic tiles, and clay masks. The artists’ arduous journeys led them from Iran, Iraq, The Democratic Republic of Congo and Mauritania to the United States and New Haven, CT. Guest curated by New Haven sculptor Susan Clinard, the exhibition serves as testament to the resilience of the human spirit. “Art is cathartic,” Clinard says, “And the making of it can keep the spirit from crumbling.”
The show also includes the installation, Mama I Don’t Know How to Swim, designed by Syrian architect and artist Mohamad Hafez, which was created by Syrian refugee children.
The Museum is grateful to the artists, Ms. Clinard, Chris George and the staff of IRIS (Integrated Refugee & Immigrant Services), and others who have made it possible to share the stories and work of some of our City’s newest residents with a wider audience.
The Nation’s Greatest Hits: 100 Years of New Haven’s Shubert Theatre
September 24, 2015 – May 14, 2016
Shubert Theatre exterior with marquee, 1930, New Haven. Courtesy of Shubert New Haven Archives.
One of the Elm City’s most celebrated cultural institutions, the Shubert Theatre has been a performing arts center presenting plays, musicals, opera, dance, classical music recitals and concerts, vaudeville, jazz artists, big bands, burlesque, and a variety of solo performances since 1914. The Shubert has hosted over 600 pre-Broadway tryouts, including over 300 world premieres and 50 American premieres, double that of any theater in New York City or any other tryout cities like Boston, Philadelphia, or Washington. Many of the world’s most popular actors received their first professional acclaim there, including Humphrey Bogart, Spencer Tracy, Katharine Hepburn, Jimmy Stewart, Clark Gable, Mary Martin, and Gene Kelly.
This exhibition spotlighted both the fully polished and the merely promising stars, composers, playwrights, and others who brought glamour, drama, music, and laughter to the Shubert Theatre, and New Haven, for an entire century. Two galleries, designed around aspects of the theatre’s “front of house” and “back of house” operations, featured vintage usher uniforms, special lighting effects, a red carpet (which is strictly a custom-made item), theatre seating, playbills, photos from some of the Shubert’s greatest triumphs, including “Oklahoma!” and “The Sound of Music,” a Rolodex-style filing box with contact information for stars ranging from Al Jolson to Zero Mostel, and a historical timeline.
Framing the gallery doorways was a selection of enlarged prints from the tribute publication, The Shubert Murals: Broadway in the Basement, by former Shubert board chairman, Cheever Tyler. Tyler’s book documents the famed murals located backstage and in the basement of the Shubert that were created and signed by the casts and crews of shows ranging from “Guys and Dolls” to “Rent” to other productions whose touring companies played the Shubert. A monitor played video clips of 100th anniversary tributes from some of the most legendary stars to have ever graced the Shubert’s stage, and was accompanied by a display of interior and exterior photos spanning the Shubert’s history and its plans for the future.
The exhibition was drawn from the Shubert New Haven Archives and was organized in partnership with the Shubert Theatre. It was made possible, in part, by The Howard Gilman Foundation.
Structures @ the Pardee-Morris House
July 12 – August 30, 2015
JD Richey, (detail) Courthouse, 2015.
Structures @ the Pardee-Morris House
This was a special contemporary show featuring paintings and sculpture by JD Richey, Tom Reilly, Megan Czekaj and Mark Geist.
Structures asked the questions: What creates a neighborhood? What makes a house a home? Is it the buildings we construct, or the lives we live within them?
This show was viewed at the Pardee-Morris House, 325 Lighthouse Road, New Haven.
Winfred Rembert: Amazing Grace
March – August 2015
Winfred Rembert, Cotton Field Rows, 2009. Courtesy of the Adelson Galleries.
Winfred Rembert: Amazing Grace
The exhibition was organized by the Hudson River Museum and was the first major retrospective of New Haven artist Winfred Rembert, whose art on leather conveys his compelling personal narrative of joy and struggle during the tumultuous moments of the American Civil Rights Movement.
The exhibition Winfred Rembert: Amazing Grace and its accompanying catalogue have been made possible by a generous grant from the Mr. and Mrs. Raymond J. Horowitz Foundation for the Arts, Inc.
Local support for the exhibition has been provided in part by The Howard Gilman Foundation.
Nothing is Set in Stone: The Lincoln Oak and the New Haven Green
April 2104 – January 2015
An exhibition pairing powerful interpretive art created by seven well-known Connecticut artists with scientific analysis by noted bioarchaeologists, this show is an informative and revelatory tribute to the historic Lincoln Oak on the New Haven Green. In October 2012, winds from Hurricane Sandy toppled the mighty oak—planted in 1909 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Lincoln’s birth—revealing human skeletal remains in the tree’s exposed roots and creating an enigmatic story that captured the imagination of the entire country.
For the artistic portion of “Nothing is Set in Stone: The Lincoln Oak and the New Haven Green,” area artists were invited to use branches, limbs, or pieces of the trunk of the Lincoln Oak to interpret the history of the tree and the discovery of the skeletal remains beneath it. The artists included in the exhibition are Lani Asuncion, Susan Clinard, Erich Davis, Michael Quirk, Jeff Slomba, Rachael A. Vaters-Carr and Alison Walsh. The collected works include mixed-media sculpture and video.
The scientific component of the exhibition consists of the results of the on-going archaeological analysis of human remains recovered from the site. Photo panels describe the remains—including bones, teeth, hair and tissue—and how they were used to determine the gender and approximate ages of those whose remains were unearthed in October, 2012, and offer hypotheses on health and disease issues of the interred. The contents of two time capsules found at the site of the fallen Lincoln Oak are also on display. The research shared in the “Nothing is Set in Stone” exhibition was conducted by G. P Aronsen, K. A. Williamson, and Y. Tonoike (Yale University); N. I. Bellantoni (UConn); G. Conlogue & N. Pelletier (Quinnipiac University); J. Krigbaum (U. Florida); and L. Fehren-Schmitz (UCSC). Historical research was provided by J. Schiff (Yale University) J. Bischoff-Wurstle, and J. Campbell (New Haven Museum).
The research was supported by The Committee of the Proprietors of the Common and Undivided Lands in New Haven; Yale University, Department of Anthropology; and Connecticut State Museum of Natural History and Archaeology Center, University of Connecticut.
June 12th – November 2, 2014
This thought-provoking new exhibition is in partnership with Artspace New Haven. Curator and New Haven Museum Director of Photo Archives Jason Bischoff-Wurstle makes intriguing connections between several of the museum’s archival images, manuscripts, and contemporary works by a dozen Artspace artist members. Inspired by New Haven’s infrastructure and events that shaped the community, Bischoff-Wurstle explored the Artspace “Flatfile” collection of contemporary art and the New Haven Museum’s archives in an effort to create links that collectively inform the city’s civic consciousness.
“Value Systems” features the work of 12 artists: Aspasia Patti Anos, Louise Barry, Gary Duehr, Julian Gilbert-Davis, Andrew Hogan, Janne Höltermann, Keith Johnson, Aurora Pellizzi, Amy Pryor, Kirsten Rae Simonsen, Paul Theriault, and Laura Watt.
This is the first time works from the Artspace Flatfile collection have been shown in a museum context, and is one of the first projects for expanding the Flatfile’s presence in the community through extra-gallery programming. The Flatfile is Artspace New Haven’s changing collection of works on paper by over 200 artists. It is accessed by collectors, curators and the public in their galleries, and forms the basis of an active roster of exhibitions throughout the year. This exhibition also marks the debut of FOLD, a specially-commissioned portable exhibition kiosk designed to showcase works from the Flatfile when they travel from the Artspace gallery.
Beyond the New Township: Wooster Square
Field of Vision: Selections from the Photo Archives
November 16, 2013 – March 2, 2014
This series follows in the spirit of Reveal: Images of New Haven 1850-1900, highlighting lesser-seen photos from the museum’s extensive archives. The exhibit was organized by Director of Photographic Archives, Jason Bischoff-Wurstle.
Cycle New Haven
The Flowering of Female Philanthropy in the 1920s
Civic well being is referenced in the annual reports of many women’s organizations in New Haven in the 1920s. The city saw a growth in philanthropy spearheaded by women, who sought to promote social reform through their volunteer work. Many organizations founded in this period are still in operation today, such as The Junior League of Greater New Haven and the Farnam Neighborhood House.
This exhibit features materials from the Whitney Library, merely offering a sampling of the large world of women’s philanthropy in the early twentieth century.
The New Haven Green: Centerpiece of a City
The New Haven Green has been the heart of New Haven since the city’s founding in 1638. The Green has served as a marketplace, burial ground, state capital and place of recreation. The Green is a symbol of New Haven as a puritan settlement that grew into an industrial metropolis and a center of culture and education.
A new exhibition that explores how photography grew as technology developed to support the form in the early 1800’s. The same can be said of the City of New Haven. As growth in technology transformed New Haven into a world renowned industrial center, photography captured the changing of the guard from the remnants of the colonial fight for independence to the foundation of the community we know today.
One Hundred Fifty Years of Collecting: Eight Documents from Four Centuries
“Letters Home to Addie” Civil War Correspondence of William Edwards Augur (1836-1903)
Enlisting in 1861, Augur served in the 7th Connecticut Volunteer Infantry and fought with his Regiment in the Carolinas, Florida and Virginia. In addition, he served in Connecticut as a recruiting officer in 1863, and then returned to the Regiment, finally being discharged in 1864.
Following the War, Augur studied architecture in the office of Henry Austin and from 1865 to 1896 was employed in the firm of Rufus Russell. He later worked in his own architectural firm.
The letters contained in this collection were all written to Augur’s finance, Adelia C. Phelps of Northampton, Massachusetts. Their affection continued and grew throughout the War. They were married on October 13, 1864, and had three children, Robert, Charles, and Katherine.
The collection was given to the Whitney Library in 2012 by a descendant, Peter Markle.
Rock the World! Children’s Art Show
Featuring multimedia artwork created by children who were inspired by the images of East and West Rock in New Haven’s Sentinels: The Art & Science of East and West Rock.
The New Haven Museum collaborated with Dr. Jelle de Boer, Harold T. Stearns Professor of Earth Science, Emeritus at Wesleyan University and author of Stories in Stone: How Geology Influenced Connecticut History and Culture, on this exciting project that centers on the changes in the worlds of art and science and the significance and inspiration of New Haven’s local geology from the founding of the colony to our modern city. Featuring many paintings and works from the New Haven Museum’s collection and geological objects from the Peabody Museum and Wesleyan University, the exhibition celebrates the local innovations in art and geology in 19th century New Haven.
What do you do with half a million feet of microfilm destined for the dump? “Make art, of course,” says New Haven artist Colin Burke, 1 of 7 local artists commissioned by Artspace New Haven to create site-specific art for Library Science. Deliquescence, Burke’s installation at the New Haven Museum, includes microfilm from the New York Times collection. He repurposes media from Connecticut libraries to create a connection between the past, the present & the future of how we experience the library.
The Hill: New Haven’s First Suburb
September – October 2010
Hopkins School: Celebrating 350 Years
April – August 2010
November 2009 – February 2010
The New Haven Bar: From the Colonies to Today
April 2007 – April 2008
The New Haven County Bar Association will celebrate the centennial of its charter by mounting an exhibition that explores the legal profession in New Haven. The New Haven Bar: From the Colonies to Today will be on view April 24 until October 27, 2007 and will explore the role of lawyers in setting the standards and integrity of the legal profession in the city for over 300 years. The New Haven Bar will also highlight New Haven lawyers through the years and cases of national importance.
School Girl Art, 1770-1832
October 2007 – January 2008
In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries many young women learned needlework as a part of their education. This exhibition showcases examples of their work both simple and highly refined.
A Place to Take Root: The History of Flowerpots and Garden Containers in North America
December 2005 – February 2006
The New Haven Museum presented the traveling exhibition, A Place to Take Root: The History of Flowerpots and Garden Containers in North America, the first exhibition to document the evolution of the common flowerpot. The exhibition was presented in collaboration with the New Haven Land Trust.
Since opening in July, 2004, A Place to Take Root has toured the United States and Canada. The curator, Susan Tamulevich, author of Dumbarton Oaks: Garden Into Art, Monacelli Press, 2002, is a garden historian and member of the New Haven Land Trust board of directors.
The works in the exhibition contained finely-detailed Italian terracotta, a wood and cast-iron French tree tub, an English horticulture ware rhubarb forcer, traditional regional American pots, and the latest in plastic orchid pots and ornamental urns. These examples help trace the history of the pot, explore its materials and shapes, and illustrate how it has developed in response to changes in horticulture and garden styles from ancient Egypt up to the present day, with special emphasis on the flowering of American designs in the 18th &19th centuries.
Several pots in the show are facsimiles of 17th- to 19th-century American designs created by Guy Wolff, a respected potter who has spent thirty years researching the subject. Mr. Wolff’s replicas, based on shards recovered at such significant sites as Monticello in Charlottesville, Va., Bartram’s Garden in Philadelphia, and the Hervey Brooks Pottery of Goshen, Conn., are largely responsible for the current revival in traditional flower pot design in the United States. To benefit the New Haven Land Trust, Mr. Wolff has translated a 19th-century Connecticut design by Hervey Brooks of Goshen, Conn., and now in the collection of the Connecticut Historical Society Museum in Hartford, into a special-edition planter.
The Faithful Friend: New Haveners and Their Pets, 1880-1920
June 2005 – January 2006
This museum exhibition examined and celebrated the relationship between people and pets using family photographs from the period as well as paintings, engravings, literary works, needlework, and three-dimensional objects to explore the cultural changes throughout the nineteenth century that led to a new definition of the American family – one that included domestic pets.
A large portion of the exhibition placed pet keeping in a historical context. Illustrations and images, together with other historical material and artifacts, traced the development of cultural and emotional attachments to pets that took place in the nineteenth century. School books used illustrations of pets in stories and lessons in morality, responsibility, and loyalty. Intellectual and reform movements of the era also used animals, including pets, in their writings and campaigns. A genre of magazines developed around home and family, including images and stories about pets. Pet products, such as bird cages, were readily available for sale in stores. New Haven was the home to the Andrew B. Hendryx Company (1869-1960s), one of the nation’s leading manufacturers of bird and pet cages. By the end of the century, pets were fully integrated into American popular culture and widely accepted as members of the family.
Photographs of New Haveners and their pets completed the exhibition. Informal, relaxed, and joyful interactions characterized the images and told the loving relationships that families developed with their pets. Included were photographs by New Haven photographer, Thomas S. Bronson, who created charming pet portraits as well as captured whimsical family gatherings on film.
Max Dellfant and the Expression of Spirit
January – December 2005
Max Dellfant had a unique vision of New Haven, particularly the waterfront area. His subjects were the schooners, oyster dredges and watch houses, factories and power plants that lined the pre-urban renewal waterfront. He painted in a vigorous, almost frenetic style. Thickly applied paint left his canvases with a surface of textured impasto. Although prolific, he never achieved commercial success.
In 2003, the museum received seven paintings by German-born artist Max Dellfant (1865-1944) from the estate of Grace Ross. Mrs. Ross was the wife of Albert E. Ross, a long-time friend and correspondent with Dellfant. Ross admired Dellfant’s work and even wrote an unpublished biography of the artist. In addition to the seven paintings, the correspondence of Ross and Dellfant was donated to the museum.
In 1975, the museum produced an exhibition of fifty Dellfant works, all loaned from private collections. Thirty years later, with the addition of the Ross bequest, the museum owns a total of nine Dellfant paintings.