University Museum expands the collection

Museums are always striving to expand their collections to reach the broadest audience possible. On Monday, October 24, SIUE’s University Museum will expand in several different ways.**

Recently, an email was sent out from the Smart Museum of Art at the University of Chicago stating that they were looking for a home for a collection of 280 pieces of art. The collection includes: 40 ink and pencil drawings, 16 paintings, 224 etchings, monotypes, woodcuts, lithographs and engravings.

A piece of the collection coming to SIUE's University Museum, an oil on canvas painting by an unknown artist.

According to an email shared by Eric Barnett, director of the University Museum, the “Smart Museum of Art recently received a sizable, unrestricted gift of works on paper and paintings; after careful consideration we have found a large number are not appropriate for our collection.” The Smart Museum was looking for an educational institution to take the collection as a gift.

When Barnett saw the request, he thought it may work to fill the gaps in a few of the University Museum’s collections. Once he received a PDF file showing many of the pieces, Barnett knew that it would help the Museum work to complete several collections.

“A lot of the art is similar to items we have in the collection and it will build the collections nicely,” said Barnett. “When I looked through this [PDF], I could see lots of connections with our collections.”

Barnett stated that The Smart Museum of Art was hoping to keep the collection in Illinois and this actually played to SIUE’s advantage. Barnett stated that several other schools were interested in the collection but they were all outside of Illinois.

The collection will serve several functions. Some of the pieces are framed already and will only need to be catalogued.

"Women Are Not Chicks" - A piece of the collection coming to SIUE's University Museum, an 1960's Women's Liberation poster by an unknown artist.

“There are a few pieces that are already framed and as soon as we get those catalogued, they will be available if someone wants them in their office,” said Barnett.

Other pieces will need to be framed and catalogued, while others will have to be researched to find out who may have produced the art.

“A lot of them are unknown only because nobody has taken the time to research them,” said Barnett. “One of the [graduate assistants for the University Museum] around here will work on it.”

Barnett also said that if art history students were interested, they could be able to do their senior assignment working to research some of the art.

Barnett stated that the art will be picked up from Chicago rather than having the art shipped through the mail. This will save SIUE a great deal of money because of the cost involved with shipping art is high. He stated this was another reason that The Smart Museum of Art chose to give the collection to SIUE.

** Due to an illness, Barnett was not able to make it to Chicago until November 21, 2011. Below are recent pictures of Barnett and University Museum workers unpacking the donated art.


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