Sargent to Basquiat: University of Vermont Alumni Collections

September 22 – December 16, 2016
East and Wolcott Galleries

Hosted by University of Vermont President Thomas Sullivan, Fleming Director Janie Cohen, and the Museum's Board of Advisors. With cash bar, hors d'oeuvres, and music

This fall, the Fleming Museum of Art presents an exhibition featuring works from the outstanding art collections of the University’s alumni. Works in the exhibition span the late nineteenth to the early twenty-first centuries, and represent some of the most influential styles of the last 130 years, including Impressionism, Expressionism, Cubism, Surrealism, Pop, and Outsider Art. Highlights include, among others, paintings and sculptures by John Singer Sargent, Childe Hassam, Wassily Kandinsky, Elie Nadelman, and Henry Moore; unique works on paper by Jean Dubuffet, Willem de Kooning, Robert Motherwell, Andy Warhol, Howard Hodgkin, Keith Haring, and Jean-Michel Basquiat; and prints and photographs by Pablo Picasso, Irving Penn, Frank Stella, Vik Muniz, Cindy Sherman, and Nan Goldin.

The alumni lenders to the exhibition span three generations, graduated from a range of UVM’s colleges and schools, and have had successful careers in fields as varied as law, academia, film, real estate and development, the art market, publishing, retail, technology, petroleum, manufacturing, and construction. The world-class works that they have collected and their enthusiasm in sharing them with the Fleming Museum for the purposes of this exhibition testify to the generosity and commitment to the arts that the University engenders in a broad range of its graduates.

The exhibition is accompanied by a richly illustrated catalogue featuring essays and short contributions by UVM alumni and associates in the academic, nonprofit, and commercial art worlds. Thematic essays in the catalogue focus on the influence of folk art and popular entertainment on American artists in the 1920s; the shadow of World War II over the paintings of Edward Hopper; how “outsider artists” like Bill Traylor and James Castle found aesthetic inspiration in their immediate environments; and the specter of geopolitics, racial violence, and AIDS over New York artists of the 1980s. Among the authors of these essays are Alexander Nemerov ’85, Carl and Marilynn Thoma Provostial Professor in the Arts and Humanities at Stanford University; Charles Russell, professor emeritus of English and American Studies at Rutgers University; Anthony Grudin, professor of art history at the University of Vermont; and Andrea Rosen, curator of the Fleming Museum of Art. Additional contributions, focusing on individual works, artists, or small groups of works, were provided by Janie Cohen, director of the Fleming Museum of Art, and lenders Claude Cernuschi ’81, Lily deJongh Downing ’85, Martha Richardson ’76, and Philip Sprayregen ’74. The catalogue will be distributed by the University Press of New England.

A program of short films related to the exhibition will be on view in the Museum’s Media Niche, and will include works by Joseph Cornell and Cindy Sherman, as well as the trailer for a forthcoming documentary on Bill Traylor by filmmaker Jeffrey Wolf.

Visitors to the Fleming Museum of Art this fall will enjoy the exceptional treat of viewing these rarely seen artistic treasures from private collections. Readers of the catalogue will discover new scholarship and insight into the works, ensuring that enjoyment continues for years to come.

The catalogue was generously underwritten by J. Brooks Buxton ’56, Mary Jane and Robert Hekemian ’53, and Joan and Eugene Kalkin ’50, with additional support from Professor of English Emerita Mary Jane Dickerson, and Martha Richardson ’76. The exhibition is supported by the Kalkin Family Exhibitions Fund, the Walter Cerf Exhibitions Fund, and an anonymous gift.