Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art in Winter Park Celebrating 75 Years, Renowned for Tiffany Works and The Bride Elect
The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art opened its season with a major new exhibition commemorating the Museum's 75th anniversary. In Celebrating 75 Years — Pathways of American Art at the Morse, the Museum presents a range of objects that illustrate the breadth and depth of the collection assembled by Hugh and Jeannette McKean over 50 years. The Morse, founded by Jeannette McKean (1909–89) and named for her industrialist grandfather, opened its doors on February 17, 1942, as the Morse Gallery of Art on the Rollins College campus. Hugh McKean (1908–95), a Rollins art professor and later president of the college, was the Museum's visionary first director. The Museum relocated in 1977 to Welbourne Avenue and in 1995 to its current site on Park Avenue, where two subsequent expansions have increased exhibition space to almost 20,000 square feet, five times that of the Welbourne location. The Museum’s unparalleled collection of works by Louis Comfort Tiffany and his firm, Tiffany Studios, is the most important component of the Morse’s holdings.
But the Morse is not simply a Tiffany museum; it is a community museum with an underlying educational mission. This was the core of the McKeans' vision for the Morse. The deep and profound commitment to this vision has informed the Museum's growth and development for 75 years and continues as the bedrock of the institution today. Objects in the Museum's new exhibition — from paintings to prints, art glass to art pottery — are being selected to show not only the varied nature of the collection but its philosophical underpinnings.
Celebrating 75 Years — Pathways of American Art opened at the Morse on October 18, 2016. Gallery talk, Fridays, 11a.m. Approaching the Museum's 75th anniversary, the Morse celebrates the breadth and depth of the collection assembled by Hugh and Jeannette McKean in this new exhibition.
Jeannette (1909–89), granddaughter of Chicago industrialist and Winter Park philanthropist Charles Hosmer Morse, founded the Museum that opened its doors on February 17, 1942. Hugh (1908–95) was its visionary first director. Over five decades, the couple assembled a collection primarily but not exclusively of late 19th– and early 20th– century art. Though now renowned for works in all mediums by Louis Comfort Tiffany, the McKeans were less interested in 'masterpieces' per se than in objects that illustrated important developments in American art. They democratically respected the creativity and unique beauty of all contributions. This exhibition will include objects the McKeans collected to show various paths and byways taken within American art.
Objects on view, for example, include not only Tiffany art glass made for the wealthy but elegant cast glass for the middle class and iridescent carnival glass that was pressed and sold for pennies to a mass audience. A highlight will be a replication of Hugh McKean’s "Art Machine," an exhibit at the Morse, c. 1988–95, of Thomas Sully’s 1871 study of a young Queen Victoria with precise instructions on how to view and appreciate the work of art. The show will also include portraits, landscape paintings, works on paper, and pottery — all of which reflect the marvelous diversity of American art. Art Nouveau from the Morse Collection Opens February 14, 2017 A new installation of works that represent the bold international decorative arts style known as Art Nouveau (1890–1910). The exhibition, drawn from the Morse collection, features furniture, jewelry, ceramics, and art glass from artists and designers working in Europe and America.
Study of the Queen Victoria, 1871, Oil on canvas. Thomas Sully, American, 1783–1872. Copied from my original study of the / Queen Victoria painted in 1838 / IB 1871 / (Thomas Sully) / August / TS
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