From the Director

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

Dear Friends,

I hope that you enjoyed our exciting spring exhibition, The Paston Treasure: Microcosm of the Known World, which remains on view through May 27. A splendid collaboration between the Center and the Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery, UK, involving more than forty students and scholars, this beautiful and illuminating exhibition will travel to Norwich in June. In our galleries, for the first time in over three centuries, the painting that serves as the subject of the project is displayed with five of the extraordinary objects depicted, gathered from collections around the world. A short film, The Paston Treasure: A Painting Like No Other, narrated by the incomparable Stephen Fry, is on view, as well. If you miss the film in the exhibition, you will find it on our website and YouTube channel. Additionally, an important accompanying book, bearing the same title as the exhibition, has been published by the Center and the Norwich Castle Museum, in association with Yale University Press.

In April, we were thrilled to have the British artist Celia Paul with us for the opening of an exhibition of her works curated by Hilton Als, the Pulitzer Prize-winning writer who serves as theater critic for the New Yorker. Celia and Hilton, who delivered an Andrew Carnduff Ritchie lecture to open the exhibition, were here for several days, giving students the opportunity to talk with them about forging careers in the arts.

We are delighted once again to participate in New Haven’s annual International Festival of Arts & Ideas, from June 9 through 23. The Center will sponsor The Merchant of Venice at the Yale Law School and the Mark Morris Dance Group’s Pepperland at the Shubert Theatre, among other programs. To complement Pepperland, a display of works related to the Beatles, from the Center’s collection, will be on view in the Study Room prior to Scott Freiman’s talk Deconstructing “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” on June 20 and 21. To coincide with the festival, the Center will present its thirteenth annual Children’s Film Festival on June 16.

Recently, the Center has augmented its photographic collections through a series of magnificent gifts and purchases. We are particularly grateful to Graham Howe, Claire and James Hyman, Charles Isaacs and Carol Nigro, and Hans P. Kraus Jr. for their generosity in helping us to enhance our holdings. To complement our focus on photography, we will present the exhibition Salt and Silver: Early Photography, 1840–1860, drawn from the distinguished collection of the Wilson Centre for Photography in London. Exhibition highlights include haunting images by the pioneering photographer, scientist, and scholar William Henry Fox Talbot, as well as fellow practitioners of his groundbreaking salted paper process—the first used to print photographic images on paper.

This year, the Royal Academy of Arts in London will celebrate its 250th anniversary with the exhibition The Great Spectacle: 250 Years of the Summer Exhibition, on view at the Royal Academy from June 12 through August 19. Our colleagues Mark Hallett and Sarah V. Turner, of the Paul Mellon Centre in London, have curated this project. Here at the Center, we will highlight paintings in our collection that made their debut in the RA’s summer exhibitions. You can find these works in Britain in the World, on the second and fourth floors, and in the Long Gallery.

We were pleased to lend significantly to Thomas Cole’s Journey: Atlantic Crossings, the highly successful exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, curated by Tim Barringer, Paul Mellon Professor in the History of Art at Yale, and Elizabeth Kornhauser, Alice Pratt Brown Curator of American Paintings and Sculpture at the Met. The exhibition will open at the National Gallery, London, in June. An associated exhibition, Picturesque and Sublime: Thomas Cole’s Trans-Atlantic Inheritance, has now opened at the Thomas Cole National Historic Site in Catskill, New York, with important loans from our collection. The curatorial team for this project includes Tim Barringer; Gillian Forrester, Senior Curator of European Art at the Whitworth Art Gallery, University of Manchester (previously at the Center); Jennifer Raab, Associate Professor of the History of Art at Yale; and two doctoral candidates at Yale, Sophie Lynford and Nicholas Robbins.
In the latest issue of our calendar of events we acknowledge with gratitude those benefactors who presented gifts to the Center in 2017. A complete list of their donations, along with purchases made with the acquisition endowment established by the Center’s founder, Paul Mellon (Yale College, Class of 1929), and funds generously donated to us by our Friends.
We are saddened by the loss of Malcolm Cormack (1935–2018), who died in January. Malcolm was one of the most distinguished curators and scholars of European art of his generation. During his fifteen years as Curator of Paintings and Sculpture at the Center (1976–91), he made well over one hundred superb acquisitions that expanded the depth and breadth of the collection. To honor Malcolm’s contribution to the life of this institution, ten key objects that he purchased for the Center with funds provided by Paul Mellon are highlighted in the galleries.
With great pride, we announce that Emmanuelle Delmas-Glass, our Collections Data Manager, was honored for serving on this year’s review committee for the Recognition Award of the Working Women’s Network at Yale. We appreciate Emmanuelle’s pioneering work as a founder of the network, as well has her active membership in the organization.
We welcome with pleasure April Swieconek, Head of Communications and Marketing, who comes to us from the National Gallery, London, and Robert Hixon, Imaging Systems Specialist. Joining the ranks of our security team are Carrie Bradford, John Capega, and Roseann Torrenti. This summer, we are delighted to host seven New Haven Promise Scholars. This is the fourth year in which the Center is participating in this valuable initiative, which offers internships that allow graduates of New Haven public schools to gain experience in various museum departments. We will miss our colleague Tom Gallagher, who has retired, as well as Elizabeth Ludyjan.
On a festive note, we hope that you will join us during Commencement Weekend. On May 19, we will celebrate the royal wedding with a screening of the event in our Lecture Hall and refreshments in the Library Court. Thank you as ever for your continued devotion to the Center—we look forward to seeing you throughout the summer!
Warmest regards,
Amy Meyers, Director