Vol. 20, No. 2
N E W S F RO M T H E M I T C H E L L G A L L E RY AT S T. J O H N ’ S C O L L E G E
EXHIBITS LOÏS MAILOU JONES: A LIFE IN VIBRANT COLOR Januar y 10-Februar y 12 GATHER UP THE FRAGMENTS: THE ANDREWS SHAKER COLLECTION March 2-April 19
A B O U T T H E G A L L E RY The Mitchell Gallery in Mellon Hall, on the campus of St. John’s College in Annapolis, Maryland, was established as a center of learning for all who wish to deepen their understanding of the visual arts. The Mitchell Gallery serves the greater Annapolis area with the only fully secured, climate-controlled fine arts facility in Anne Arundel County.
Loïs Mailou Jones, Mère du Senegal, 1985. Acrylic. Courtesy of the Loïs Mailou Jones Pierre-Noël Trust.
H o u r s During scheduled exhibitions, the gallery is open Tuesday-Sunday, 12-5 p.m. and Friday, 7-8 p.m. There is no admission charge.
L O Ï S M A I L O U J O N E S : A L IFE IN V IBR A N T CO L O R
Docent-led tours are offered on Thursdays from 12-3 p.m. Group tours are also available. For information call 410-626-2556.
S t a f f Director: Hydee Schaller Executive Editor: Kathy Dulisse Editor: Patricia Dempsey Chairman, Faculty Advisory Committee:
Thomas May Chairman, Mitchell Gallery Board of Advisors: Dennis Younger Art Educator: Lucinda Dukes Edinberg Exhibit Preparator: Sigrid Trumpy Graphic Designer: Jennifer Behrens
website: www.stjohnscollege.edu Funding and support for Mitchell Gallery exhibitions are provided in part by Anne Arundel County, the Arts Council of Anne Arundel County, the City of Annapolis, The Helena Foundation, the Maryland State Arts Council, the Estate of Elizabeth Myers Mitchell, Mitchell Gallery Board of Advisors, Members of the Mitchell Gallery, the Mitchell Gallery Endowment, Mitchell Gallery Next Generation Committee, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Lillian Vanous Nutt Mitchell Gallery Endowment, and the Clare Eddy and Eugene V. Thaw Fine Arts Fund.
January 10-February 12 by Lucinda Edinberg
oïs Mailou Jones (1905-1998) was an international star in the art world as a painter, teacher, book illustrator, and textile designer. More than 50 paintings, drawings and textile designs from public and private collections, as well as works from the artist’s estate will be on view in the Mitchell Gallery from January 10 to February 12. Many of the works in this exhibition are on view to the public for the first time. Jones worked through some of the most influential movements of the 20th century: the Harlem Renaissance, the Civil Rights movement, and the recognition of African heritage. According to one of her former students, Howard University professor Tritobia Hayes Benjamin, “She [Jones] wanted to be known and perceived as an American artist— judged on the strength of her talent and artistry…and that as a woman she was equal to and as good as any male artist, black or white.” Jones’s works convey her struggles as a
woman artist in a male-dominated profession, an African-American woman in an atmosphere of segregation, and a creative woman on a journey of self-discovery and affirmation. The personal and profes-
sional journeys of her long and prolific career appear in her African-inspired works of the early 1930s, landscapes, cityscapes, and figure studies from Continued on page 2
G AT H E R U P T H E F R AG M E N T S : T H E A N DR E WS S H A KE R CO L L E CT IO N March 2-April 19 “Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost.” John 6:12 The United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Appearing— commonly called Shakers—is a unique monastic and communi communitarian culture, lofty in its principles and matchless in the design of every object its members crafted. Among the objects on view at the Mitchell Gallery this spring are the inspired, simple designs of Shaker craftsmen, including furniture, architecture, crafts, and the now iconic oval boxes and ladder-back chairs. Desk, Hancock, MA or Enfield, CT, ca. 1840. Andrews Collection, Hancock Shaker Village. Photo by Michael Fredericks.
Between 1790 and 1794, Shaker communities were organized in Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Maine, followed by other enclaves in Indiana, Kentucky, New York, and Vermont. By 1850, they began to lose their momentum and their dwindling membership led to the closure of many of the communities. Shaker tradition began with a group of dissenting Quakers who emigrated from England to New York in 1774, and was founded on the principles of the charismatic Ann Lee, later known as “Mother Ann.” Because of the ecstatic and enthusiast nature of their worship services for “singing and dancing, shaking and shouting, speaking with new tongues and prophesying...they were known as
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E XH I B I T N L O Ï S M A I L O U J O N E S : A L IFE IN V IBR A N T CO L O R January 10-February 12 subjects weave in and out of her work and some are tied to specific events. The black Expressionist movement in the 1960s, with masks, motifs, and historic African themes, provided material for works in the 1970s. She used triangular bands and the abstracted and decorated animal forms found in such works as “Dahomey.”
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1937 to 1951. They also appear in Haitian scenes of the 1950s and 1960s, and the return of African themes in her later years. Jones came from an educated family in Boston and spent summers on Martha’s Vineyard. Her father was a lawyer and her mother was a beautician and hat designer. Her parents encouraged her to accept a scholarship to the Boston Museum School of the Arts to pursue a career as an artist, despite the strong racial prejudices of the time. She received traditional training at the Museum School using cast models and copying masters’ works. Charcoal drawing studies, The Flight of Love (1923) and Young Girl (1923) after Rodin, are evidence of this training. Following graduation, Jones taught art at the Palmer Memorial Institute, a private African-American boarding school in Sedalia, N.C. She created a number of paintings that reflect life in Sedalia, but due to the indignities of segregation, living in the South proved to be a frustrating and degrading experience. Consequently, Jones left North Carolina and joined the art department at Howard University, where she launched her formal career as an artist and held a faculty position until her retirement in 1977. For more than 70 years, Jones enjoyed a successful artistic
Loïs Mailou Jones, Nature Morte aux Corail, Haiti, 1985. Watercolor. Courtesy of the Loïs Mailou Jones Pierre-Noël Trust.
career, including 47 years of teaching at Howard University. Her impressive roster of students included now wellknown artists: David Driskell, Elizabeth Catlett, Lou Stovall, and Robert Freeman. Her designs for Cretonne drapery fabrics occupied much of her time in the 1930s. These designs, created in tempera paints, included palm trees “At ninety, I arrived.” Loïs Mailou Jones
in a range of warm colors, and also bold swirls, organic and geometric designs. Turquoise, gold, white and black colors—now considered “retro”—reflect her sense of adventure and awareness of modern design. In 1937, Jones went to Paris, where she had exhibition opportunities that had been denied in the United States. A General Education Board Foreign Fellowship funded her studies at the Académie Julian. Jones exhibited her paintings at the Société des Artistes Française and Société des Artistes Independents. The paintings from this prolific period—many of which are on view in the Mitchell Gallery— reflect a mixture of styles and subjects, including academic nudes, psychological portraits, traditional still lifes, and lush landscapes. African art was very popular in Paris and with the developing influence of the Harlem Renaissance, Jones developed a new interest in African art and culture. Her return to the U.S. to continue teaching at Howard University furthered her interest in these themes. Jones’s work in this period is inspired by Africa as the cultural and symbolic homeland of African Americans. African-inspired
In contrast, other works such as Mob Victim, a simple composition of a homeless man, are commentary on the climate of segregation and her protest to racial violence. In 1953, Jones married Louis Vergniaud Pierre-Noël (1910-1982), a talented graphic designer of Haitian descent, whom she had met at Columbia University 20 years earlier. Her annual visits to his native country inspired a new perspective. Her work became more abstract and hard-edged with a spirited use of new bright colors and richly patterned designs—a break from the impressionist techniques previously used. The Water Carriers and Nature Morte aux Corail represent this new style. Her work, considered an important part in the history of American art, is found in the museum collections of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Corcoran Gallery of Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Mint Museum of Art, and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. An accompanying exhibition catalogue will be on sale in the Mitchell Gallery. v Source: Excerpts from the exhibition catalogue “Loïs Mailou Jones: A Life in Vibrant Color,” edited by Carla M. Hanzal. “Loïs Mailou Jones: A Life in Vibrant Color” is organized by the Mint Museum of Art, Charlotte, N.C., in collaboration with the Loïs Mailou Jones Pierre-Noël Trust, and toured by International Arts & Artists, Washington, D.C. The exhibition is funded in part by the National Endowment for the Arts.
Carla M. Hanzal, curator of contemporary art at the Mint Museum in Charlotte, North Carolina, will share her thoughts on the “Loïs Mailou Jones: A Life in Vibrant Color” exhibition on January 25 at 7 p.m. Jones’s paintings, drawings, and textile designs illustrate her life as a reflective, sensitive artist: they are an exploration not only of her heritage and the struggles of the African-American community, but also landscapes, still-life, and the human form. Hanzal received her master of arts from the American University and her bachelor of arts from Hastings College. She has been awarded a Truman Scholarship as well as a Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. Before coming to the Mint Museum, she worked as chief curator at the Contemporary Art Center of Virginia, and as director of exhibitions at the International Sculpture Center in Washington, D.C. Loïs Mailou Jones, Design for Cretonne Drapery Fabric, 1932. Watercolor on paper. Courtesy of the Loïs Mailou Jones Pierre-Noël Trust.
T NOT E S G AT H E R U P T H E F R AG M E N T S : T H E A N DR E WS S H A KE R CO L L E CT IO N March 2-April 19 Continued from front page
the “Shaking Quakers.” Mother Ann enjoined her followers to confess their sins, give up all their worldly goods, and take up the cross of celibacy. The Shakers believed in the equality of the sexes, an important guiding doctrine in the governance of the Believers, and members were acquired by conversion or through orphaned children. By 1787, their number of followers grew and Joseph Meacham began “gathering into order” the scattered Believers and organizing them into what grew to more than 20 communities, with women and men sharing in its leadership. Through the early efforts of collectors Ted and Faith Young Andrews, the objects in this exhibition come from the most comprehensive collection of Shaker materials ever assembled, which features the work from Shaker
Blue Shoe, Unknown Community, ca. 1840. Andrews Collection, Hancock Shaker Village. Photo by Michael Fredericks.
Shaker inventions included metal pen nibs, the flat broom, a type of washing machine called a wash mill, waterproof and wrinkle-free cloth created through the use of zinc chloride, and the metal chimney cap that blocked rain.
Communities in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and New York. With limited means they spent more than 40 years researching, writing books, and organizing exhibitions. The Andrews were instrumental in saving the community closest to home, Hancock Shaker Village in Pittsfield, Mass. Although the impressive range of artifacts tell the story of Shaker life, these objects also serve as a testimony to the devoted friendship, and the Andrews’ passion and respect for the Shaker way of life. Shakers followed traditional gender work-related roles. Women worked indoors spinning, weaving, cooking, sewing, cleaning, washing, and making or packaging goods for sale; otherwise they tended to gardens. Men worked in the fields and in their workshops for crafts and trades. The Shakers were self-sufficient; they produced goods for themselves and sold baskets, brushes, brooms, homespun fabric, seeds, and medicinal and culinary herbs. Farming practices included the latest scientific methods and laborsaving devices. Their cooperage at the Church Family at Mount Lebanon, N.H., produced as many as 100 tubs and 300 pails in a year.
A Shaker named Tabitha Babbitt (1784—about 1853) was an early American tool maker who is credited with inventing the first circular saw used in a saw mill in 1813. She was a member of the Shaker community in Harvard, Massachusetts.
Wall Clock, Mount Lebanon, NY, 1840. Andrews Collection, Hancock Shaker Village. Photo by Michael Fredericks.
Like any industry, they had to consider production costs, and owing to the scarcity of timber and to competitive factories abroad, their production had largely ceased by 1856. Shakers continued to be known for their industrious, honest, and frugal ethics, qualities that made their products highly desirable. As seen in the exhibition at the Mitchell Gallery, Shaker craftsmen produced simple but durable designs in architecture, furniture, and crafts. Initially, the ladder-back chair, mortised and pegged with wovensplint or taped seats, was among their most financially successful designs. Shaker-crafted oval boxes, along with tools, household objects, and garden supplies, were among the products made for their own use as well as for commercial sales. Larger furniture pieces such as desks, cupboards, and tables, were valued for their function and straightforward design. Pieces were usually
Shakers used a “peg rail,” a continuous wooden device like a pelmet with hooks running all along it near the lintel level, to hang up clothes, hats, and light furniture, such as chairs, when not in use.
numbered or dated, and often the craftsman would include an inscription with a moral lesson. For example, in 1840 Brother Isaac Newton Youngs, one of the most skilled craftsmen at the New Lebanon Shaker community, wrote on the back of the face of a wall clock “O Time! How swift that solemn day rolls on/ when from these mortal scenes we shall be gone!!!” These artifacts, along with drawings, rare manuscripts, and a letter written in 1782 from Father James Whittaker, one of the Believers who accompanied Mother Ann Lee to America in 1774, are included in the collection on view. The exhibition title, “Gather up the Fragments That Remain, That Nothing be Lost,” taken from a bible verse, was written on the table
monitor in each Shaker community dining hall. It describes the gathering of the fragments of Shaker life, the precept of “waste not, want not,” and also hints at the controversy that surrounds the gathering and dispersal of the collection. “As best they could, the Andrews tried to save Shaker culture,” said Christian Goodwillie, the Hancock’s former curator of collections and co-author of the 400page catalog, published by Yale University Press. “They had their pick of the litter but they also saved everything: dirty old shoes, worn-out things, tinsmith tools, and the humblest diary.” Thanks to the effort of Amy Bess Miller, a local philanthropist and Shaker devotee, the Hancock Shaker Village was saved from commercial development and was opened as a museum furnished with objects from the Andrews collection of Shaker works. For the Andrews, what began as a collection turned into a mission to save Shaker culture for posterity. v “Gather Up the Fragments” is organized by Hancock Shaker Village, Pittsfield, Massachusetts, and toured by International Arts & Artists, Washington, D.C. Funded in part by the National Endowment for the Arts. The exhibition is generously supported by the Helena Foundation. Source: Excerpts from the exhibition catalogue Gather Up the Fragments: The Andrews Shaker Collection by Mario S. De Pillis and Christian Goodwillie.
Wooden Pail, Mount Lebanon, NY, 19th century. Andrews Collection, Hancock Shaker Village. Photo by Michael Fredericks.
LOÏS MAILOU JONES: A LIFE IN VIBRANT COLOR JANUARY 10-FEBRUARY 12
February 12 Sunday Afternoon Tour. Art Educator Lucinda Edinberg will lead a tour of “Loïs Mailou Jones” at 3 p.m.
January 15 Opening Reception & Family Program. Art Educator Lucinda Edinberg and special guest Dr. Chris Chapman, trustee of the Loïs Mailou Jones Pierre Noël Trust, will lead a tour of the “Loïs Mailou Jones” exhibition followed by a hands-on workshop from 3:30 to 5 p.m.
GATHER UP THE FRAGMENTS: THE ANDREWS SHAKER COLLECTION MARCH 2-APRIL 19
January 25 Lecture. Carla Hanzal, curator of contemporary art at the Mint Museum, will discuss “Loïs Mailou Jones: A Life in Vibrant Color” at 7 p.m. February 2 Book Club. Join members of the Mitchell Gallery Book Club for a docent tour of “Loïs Mailou Jones,” followed by a discussion of the book The Wedding by Dorothy West, from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. St. John’s tutor David Townsend will lead the discussion. Registration is required. Contact Kathy Dulisse at 410626-2530 or firstname.lastname@example.org. February 8 Art Express. Art Educator Lucinda Edinberg will give a lunchtime gallery talk on “Loïs Mailou Jones” from 12:15 to 12:45 p.m. Juice and sodas will be provided.
March 2 Members Preview Reception. Be the first to view the “Andrews Shaker Collection” exhibition at this elegant wine and hors d’oeuvres reception from 5 to 7 p.m. By invitation only. March 4 Opening Reception & Family Program. Art Educator Lucinda Edinberg will lead a tour of the “Andrews Shaker Collection” exhibition followed by a hands-on workshop from 3:30 to 5 p.m. March 8 Lecture. Exhibition curator Christian Goodwillie will discuss “Gather Up the Fragments: The Andrews Shaker Collection” at 7:30 p.m. March 21 Seminar. St. John’s Tutor David Townsend and Artist Ebby Malmgren will lead an exhibition-related seminar at 7 p.m. Space is limited. Registration is required. Call 410-626-2556 to register.
JOIN THE MITCHELL GALLERY For more information call 410-295-5551 or visit www.stjohnscollege.edu/events and click on Mitchell Gallery.
March 25 Sunday Afternoon Tour. Art Educator Lucinda Edinberg will lead a tour of the “Andrews Shaker Collection” exhibition at 3 p.m. March 29 Book Club. Join members of the Mitchell Gallery Book Club for a tour of the “Andrews Shaker Collection,” followed by a discussion of the book The Great Divorce: A Nineteenth-Century Mother’s Extraordinary Fight Against Her Husband, The Shakers, and Her Times, from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. St. John’s tutor David Townsend will lead the discussion. Registration is required. Contact Kathy Dulisse at 410-626-2530.
THE MITC HEL L GALLERY WEL COM ES ITS NEWES T M EM B ERS :
Kenneth and Maureen Reightler
Tom and Nina Dekornfeld
Douglas and Katherine Rigler
John and Scott Doran
Raymono and Mia Russell
Edward B. Samuel
Robert and Kathy Arias
Everett and Barbara Santos
Art Committee of Bay Woods
Robert and Carroll Greve
Jeffrey LaPides and Lynn Schwartz
Mary L. Baker
Robert and Myrna Siegel
Frederick and Acacia Hunt
Lisa P. Simeone and Tim Munn
Mark and Lore Singerman
Frank and Judy Brennan
Ken and Lisa Karstan
Susanne A. Sullivan
Robert and Ann Whitcomb
Peter Chamblis and Jane Campbell-Chamblis
Lamar and Helen Neville
Malcolm and Cecelia Wyatt
William and Katherine Clatanoff
L. Harvey and Josephine Poe
Christian H. Poindexter
Harold P. Pugh
April 4 Art Express. Art Educator Lucinda Edinberg will give a lunchtime gallery talk on the “Andrews Shaker Collection” exhibition from 12:15 to 12:45 p.m. ST. JOHN’S COLLEGE COMMUNITY ART EXHIBITION APRIL 29-MAY 13 April 29 St. John’s College Opening Reception. Celebrate the opening of the “Community Art Exhibition” with artists from 3 to 5 p.m. May 3 Book Club. Join members of the Mitchell Gallery Book Club for a tour of the exhibition, followed by a discussion of the book Life Studies by Susan Vreeland, from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. Anelle Tumminello, Coordinator of English for Anne Arundel County Public Schools, will lead the discussion. Registration is required. Contact Kathy Dulisse at 410-626-2530. IMAGE & IMAGINATION: ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY JURIED EXHIBITION MAY 24-JUNE 3 May 24 Juried Artists Opening Reception. Celebrate the opening of the “Anne Arundel County Juried Exhibition” with juror Katherine Blood and artists from 4 to 6 p.m.
Celia Pearson’s Sea Glass as Still Life I won Best in Show at the 2010 “Image and Imagination” Juried Exhibition.
The Mitchell Gallery expresses its sincere appreciation to the following: Tricia and Mat Herban
DON’T MISS THE DEADLINE for the fifth “Image & Imagination: Anne Arundel County Biennial Juried Exhibition 2012”
THE MITCHELL GALLERY TRAVEL PROGRAM
group will be accompanied by local experts on art, architecture, olive oil and wine.
Following on the gallery’s travel program to Dordogne last spring, the Mitchell Gallery is sponsoring a trip to Tuscany. This seven-day trip departs on September 22, 2012, with two days in Florence and five in Siena. Highlights include an extended visit to the Uffizi Gallery, excursions from Siena to Montalcino, San Gimignano, and the Chianti region; the
The “early booking” cost is expected to be $3195 per person, including tax, double occupancy, exclusive of air. Mitchell Gallery members will be given preference for early reservations. Call Pamela McKee for further information on early booking at 410-263-2610.
March 12 is the postmark mailing deadline or submissions may be hand delivered to the Mitchell Gallery between noon and 5 p.m. on March 14, 2012.
Loïs Mailou Jones, Dahomey, 1971. Acrylic. Courtesy of the Loïs Mailou Jones Pierre-Noël Trust.
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