From the Director

Director Amy Meyers, fourth-floor galleries overlooking the Library Court, photograph by Michael Marsland

Dear friends,

Happy New Year and warmest wishes for the winter season! Following a glorious year at the Center, we now look forward to the equally exciting months ahead.

I hope that you had the opportunity to enjoy Enlightened Princesses: Caroline, Augusta, Charlotte, and the Shaping of the Modern World, which was on view at the Center last spring, and at Kensington Palace, London, in the fall, where it was seen by almost four hundred thousand visitors. The exhibition and its accompanying publication were the result of a magnificent collaboration between the Center and Historic Royal Palaces (HRP). An associated symposium co-organized by the Center, HRP, and the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art (PMC), London, was held at Kensington Palace, Hampton Court Palace, and the Tower of London, bringing together eminent scholars to investigate the role played by royal women in the shaping of court culture and politics across Europe during the long eighteenth century. Yale Professor Michael Veal also served as moderator for a workshop examining the circulation and impact of Black music in eighteenth-century Britain, organized by the Center, PMC, HRP, and Handel & Hendrix in London. We are deeply grateful to Laura and James Duncan for their support of this groundbreaking event, and we look forward to bringing the discussion home to Yale later in the year.

The extraordinary sculpture Mrs Pinckney and the Emancipated Birds of South Carolina, created by Yinka Shonibare MBE (RA) for the exhibition and acquired by the Center, has now returned to our galleries. Other superb gifts and acquisitions that entered the Center’s collections over the last year are described more fully on pages 18–19 of our latest calendar. Of special note is a major gift of 125 modern and contemporary British photographs from James and Claire Hyman. Their splendid donation sets the cornerstone for a series of important donations to be announced in the coming months, which will reinforce the Center’s photographic collections as major resources for teaching and research.

Throughout the fall, the Center’s public spaces were transformed by the installation of eighty monumental red vases. Made in China, by artist Clare Twomey, was part of the special exhibition “Things of Beauty Growing”: British Studio Pottery, an innovative exploration of the work of contemporary ceramic artists. Addressing the theme of the exhibition, our annual graduate student symposium was attended by more than seventy-five international scholars. Additionally, we were delighted to welcome several hundred Yale undergraduates to the Center both for a special evening during first-year orientation, as well as for A Night at the Museum gala, hosted by the Yale College Council. Last December, we also co-hosted a state-of-the-field conference, Landscape Now, the third in a series of such collaborations among the Center, the PMC, and the Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens. Held at the PMC, the conference explored new approaches to the field of landscape portrayal, extending the examination across the British Empire and Commonwealth from the vantage point of postcolonial studies, ecocriticism, and the Anthropocene.

The Paston Treasure: Microcosm of the Known World, which has been organized by the Center in partnership with the Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery, will open on the evening of February 14. The exhibition will shed new light on a remarkable seventeenth-century still-life painting depicting the Paston family’s renowned collection of naturalia and artificialia—one of the first of its kind in England. A film, narrated by Stephen Fry and set to music by Griffin Brown, TC ’18, has been created for the exhibition to explain our technical analysis of the painting, illuminating how this fascinating picture was made.

We are thrilled that Hilton Als, winner of the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for Criticism and a recipient of a 2016 Windham-Campbell Literature Prize, is organizing a display of works by the contemporary British artist Celia Paul, which will be installed at the Center in the spring. The transatlantic friendship between Als and Paul was first explored at the Center in 2016, during a gallery talk regarding three works by Paul in our collection. On April 3, Als will return to campus to open the exhibition with an Andrew Carnduff Ritchie Lecture, sponsored jointly by the Center and the Yale University Art Gallery. Paul will accompany him, and both will talk with Yale students as part of the Ritchie program.

With pride, we announce that Linda Friedlaender, Senior Curator of Education, received a 2017 Linda Lorimer Award for Distinguished Service to the university. In a unique collaboration between the Center and the Yale School of Medicine, Linda, together with Dr. Irwin Braverman, Professor Emeritus of Dermatology, created the renowned Enhancing Observation program. Over the past decade, she has taught countless students and professionals to improve their observational, critical thinking, and communications skills.

We are pleased that Martina Droth has been promoted to Deputy Director of Research, Exhibitions and Publications, and Curator of Sculpture. Martina’s enhanced brief will allow the institution to augment its intellectual program with the university, the PMC, and other international partners in the most valuable of ways. We also are delighted that Jessica David has been promoted to Senior Conservator of Paintings; Melissa Fournier to Program Manager, West Campus Initiatives, and Head of Imaging and Intellectual Property; and that Lisa Ford has been named Special Programs Manager for the Director. We welcome new colleagues Nancy Macgregor, Associate Registrar, and Charlotte Padden, Senior Curatorial Assistant, Prints and Drawings, as we bid farewell to Betsy Kim, Head of Communications and Marketing, who has moved to New York to continue her journalism career. Additionally, we bid goodbye to David Lewis, Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Research Department, and wish him well with his forthcoming book projects. We congratulate Kurt Heumiller, Senior Imaging Systems Specialist, on his new role as the Digital Production Manager at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

Finally, we express our sorrow over the loss of Vincent Scully, Sterling Professor Emeritus of the Arts, who will be remembered forever by generations of students who were inspired by his brilliant teaching and his infectious but never uncritical enthusiasm for architecture.

As always, we thank you for your ongoing interest in the Center. We look forward to seeing you in the coming year, and hope you will join for all we have to offer!

Warmest regards,
Amy Meyers, Director