Assistant Curator Shirley Reece-Hughes of the Amon Carter Museum of American Art guest blogs about her experience installing To See As Artists See: American Art from The Phillips Collection. Following an international tour with stops in Rovereto, Madrid, Tokyo, Nashville, and (next year) Tampa, the exhibition opens at the Fort Worth museum this Saturday, October 6.
Augustus Vincent Tack’s Aspiration (1931) installed at the Amon Carter Museum of American Art in Fort Worth, TX. (Oil on canvas, 74 1/4 in x 134 1/2 in. The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C. Acquired 1932.)
For the past several months, our staff at the Amon Carter Museum of American Art has anxiously awaited To See as Artists See: American Art from The Phillips Collection. With works arriving in Fort Worth last week, this masterful collection of American art has exceeded expectations. It is a curator’s dream to work with paintings of this caliber, and we have delighted in every moment of the installation process.
Featuring an exhibition of this size presents a new and exciting challenge for us. Our special exhibition galleries alone could not accommodate the more than 100 extraordinary works in To See as Artists See, so we extended the exhibition into two of our permanent collection galleries. We installed the exquisite, mural-sized painting Aspiration (1931) by Augustus Vincent Tack on the first floor of the museum, where it greets our visitors.
One of the most exciting aspects of seeing the works from the Phillips in our museum is realizing how beautifully they complement the Amon Carter collection. After our visitors have a chance to go through the first part of To See as Artists See in the special exhibition galleries, they pass through our permanent collection galleries on their way to the second part. This pathway enables visitors to discover the affinities between these two great collections of American art. The first time I made this journey, the Amon Carter’s permanent collection felt new to me, as if I was looking at it for the first time. The Phillips and Amon Carter collections feature many of the same noteworthy artists, including Thomas Eakins, Marsden Hartley, Winslow Homer, George Inness, and Georgia O’Keeffe. Bringing them into close proximity allows us to see how artists have maintained the integrity of their vision in their body of work.
Shirley Reece-Hughes, Assistant Curator of Paintings and Sculpture, Amon Carter Museum of American Art