This weekend, two of Tulsa's major museums open new exhibits of rarely seen and highly regarded artwork.
Gilcrease Museum, 1400 N. Gilcrease Museum Road, opens "Thomas Gilcrease and the Making of an American Treasure," an exhibition of rarely seen art and artifacts from Gilcrease's collection, which is the most extensive of American Western objects.
The museum houses more than 410,000 items of art, artifacts and archival material, and this exhibition will include more than 300 of those, representing 25 years of collecting by Gilcrease.
Gilcrease began collecting in the mid-1920s, and in 25 years amassed more than 10,000 works of art, 300,000 anthropological artifacts and 100,000 rare books and documents. He opened the Thomas Gilcrease Museum in 1949.
According to museum representatives, "Items in the exhibition provide a rarely seen glimpse into the massive assemblage of items in Gilcrease Museum's permanent collection. Because of space considerations, only a small percentage of permanent collection items are ever on display at a given time."
"These works are impressive on their own, but together in an exhibition of this magnitude, they speak to the foresight Gilcrease saw in creating this national treasure," said Duane King, vice president for museum affairs for The University of Tulsa and executive director of Gilcrease Museum. "Thomas Gilcrease's passion for collecting the most important works of art and historical items from the American West and this hemisphere is truly apparent throughout the exhibition."
The exhibit offers patrons an opportunity to view items Gilcrease himself collected, such as his first art purchase: "Rural Courtship" by Daniel Ridgeway Knight. He bought the painting in a Tulsa hotel in 1912 at a time when he knew very little about art but was eager to learn.
In addition, a Beaver Effigy Platform Pipe, "a true treasure of the Gilcrease collection," according to museum officials, will be on display.
"Some of the items Gilcrease had in his collection include the best examples of that kind of work," said Randy Ramer, collections manager and curator of anthropology. "The Beaver Effigy Platform Pipe, excavated by Perino in Pike County, Ill. is an excellent example. There you have one of the finest artifacts of prehistoric North America made by the Hopewell people about 200 A.D. Perino and Gilcrease saved that piece for future generations to enjoy and study. The piece is truly a treasure of the Gilcrease collection."
Selections from the museum's Cole Collection, Western art purchased from Dr. Phillip Cole in 1944 and regarded as the single greatest acquisition of Western art in history, will also be on display.
The Cole Collection amounts to 636 works of art, books, photographs and archival material, including works by Frederic Remington, Charles M. Russell, Charles Schreyvogel and Frank Tenney Johnson.
Documents from Gilcrease's archival collection on display are the only known certified copy of the Declaration of Independence and the Articles of Confederation, the Cortez Decree of 1521 and the Codex Canadiensis.
The exhibit opens Saturday, June 6 and runs through January 10, 2010. Museum hours are Tuesday though Sunday, 10am to 5pm. Admission is $8 for adults, $6 for seniors and active duty military and $5 for college students. The museum offers free admission to all visitors on the first Tuesday of each month. For more information, visit gilcrease.utulsa.edu.
Opening at the Sherwin Miller Museum of Jewish Art, 2010 E. 71st St., this Sunday is "An Artist's Pilgrimage: David Roberts' Lithographs and the Holy Land."
Roberts' paintings are some of the most beloved and popular illustrations of Egypt and the Holy Land.
Born in 1796 near Edinburgh, Scotland, the artist had a natural interest in architectural landscapes and began sketching ancient castles of the Scottish countryside at a young age.
In London, he became a respected painter, traveling to Spain and Morocco, among other places.
According to museum representatives, "Painters of Roberts' time traveled to distant locations to sketch and watercolor monuments, architecture and people, and then returned to their studios to produce exotic oil painting and lithographs. Nineteenth century England was so interested in drawings of distant lands that the naval Academy even taught watercolors to its officers, so they could draw the new lands and peoples they encountered."
Roberts decided to tour the Near East, Egypt and the Holy Land, arriving in Jerusalem in 1839 by wait of Sinai and Petra in Egypt. He continued north to Lebanon and Beirut.
Once back in England, his 248 hand-colored works were published by lithographer Louis Hanghe in a six-volume set. The first three volumes depicted Egypt and Nubia and the second three the Holy Land.
The works will be on display at Sherwin Miller through August 23.
Also opening at the museum this weekend is "Our Parents' Memories: 19th and 20th Century Souvenirs of the Holy Land."
On any trip, souvenirs, purchased trinkets and photographs, are important ways of remembering and documenting the experience.
According to a release from the museum, "The Sherwin Miller Museum has an extensive collection of souvenirs given by Tulsans whose families collected them during their travels to the Holy Land. This exhibit will feature a variety of souvenir from olivewood carvings and mid-twentieth century Judaica to tourist maps, postcards and travel posters."
The exhibit will be on display through August. Museum hours are Monday through Friday from 10am to 5pm and Sunday from 1-5pm. Admission is $5.50 for adults and $4.50 for seniors. Students 6-21 are $3. For more, visit www.jewishmuseum.net.
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