Former art collectors lend masterpieces to Blanton museum for major exhibition


The Blanton Museum of Art at the University of Texas at Austin presents “Through the Eyes of Texas: Masterworks from Alumni Collections,” an exhibition of nearly 200 extraordinary objects from the art collections of UT Austin alumni across the country, on view until May 19.

Masterpieces, including Claude Monet’s “Nympheas (Water Lilies)” (pictured), are included in the “Through the Eyes of Texas” exhibit.

On the occasion of the Blanton’s 50th anniversary, this special survey includes ancient Mayan vessels, tribal masks, Chinese jade, Renaissance paintings and old master prints and drawings, presented alongside modern works and works of major artists such as Claude Monet, Georgia O’ Keeffe, Ed Ruscha, Vija Celmins and Kehinde Wiley. “Through Texas Eyes” tells the fascinating stories of these objects and their owners, as well as unique learning opportunities and a chance for visitors to discover important works that span art history.

“We are at one of the most exciting times in our 50-year history,” says Simone Wicha, Director of Blanton. “This exhibition gives us the opportunity to highlight the important leadership role that University of Texas alumni play in our cultural landscape. What starts here truly changes the world. We are pleased to share these meaningful works with our audience and are grateful to the many collectors who have made this presentation possible.

The unique nature of the exhibit allows the Blanton to exhibit works outside of its permanent collection of art and artifacts that are not normally displayed in Austin. Among them is an Egyptian lion-headed goddess from 664-30 BC. AD, an ancient Chinese urn from the Liao dynasty and an eccentric Maya flint from the late Classic period. This grouping, along with a selection of tribal masks loaned to the museum from several private collections, marks the first major display of ethnographic objects from Blanton. Other highlights include costume design for the Ballets Russes, a 1916-1919 “Nympheas (Water Lilies)” by Claude Monet and a 1975 “Jammer” by Robert Rauschenberg.

Spanning many periods, media and genres, the works in the exhibition allow viewers to make creative connections, says exhibition curator Annette DiMeo Carlozzi. A 2nd-century Roman bust of a goddess, for example, will be paired with a seminal work of contemporary art, “Lick and Lather” by Janine Antoni, which features unusual portrait busts in chocolate and soap. “Daphne” by sculptor Petah Coyne offers a contemporary counterpart to Alfred Maurer’s “Woman in a Black Dress”. And the dense detail of Thomas Struth’s large-scale photographs of Brazilian and Japanese jungles and forests evoke a different way of seeing from the sharp clarity of Henri Rousseau’s “Exotic Landscape with Tiger and Hunters.”

“Through Texas Eyes” also explores the stories behind the objects and the lives of collectors who, after leaving college, have had a significant impact on the art world here and abroad. Exhibit lenders include UT alumni Jeanne and Michael Klein from Austin, Mary Winton Green from Chicago, Judy and Charles Tate from Houston, Cindy and Howard Rachofsky from Dallas, and Darren Walker and David Beitzel from New York. . They and the many others who have graciously shared their collections support artists, strengthen arts advocacy and scholarship, and manage important collections that, in many cases, will ultimately be donated to county cultural institutions. Several collectors’ voices will be heard through an audio guide created for the exhibition, as well as UT students and professors responding to their experiences of this unprecedented assemblage of works. An illustrated catalog will accompany the show.

High resolution images are available for the press.


“Through the Eyes of Texas: Masterpieces from Alumni Collections” is organized by the Blanton Museum of Art.

Generous funding for the exhibit is provided by Cornelia and Meredith Long and the Eugene McDermott Foundation, with additional support from Mr. and Mrs. Jack S. Blanton, Sr., the ECG Foundation, Windi and David Grimes, Houston Oil Producing Enterprises , Inc. ., the Vivian L. Smith Foundation, Judy and Charles Tate and John Schweitzer.

About the Blanton Museum of Art
Founded in 1963, the Blanton Museum of Art is one of the nation’s premier university art museums and holds the largest public collection in central Texas. Renowned for its modern and contemporary American and Latin American art, Italian Renaissance and Baroque paintings, and encyclopedic collection of prints and drawings, the Blanton offers engaging encounters with art that are visually arresting and personally moving.

The museum is located on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and North Congress Avenue and is open Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the third Thursday, the museum is open until 9 am. Admission: Adults $9, Children 12 and under FREE, Seniors (65+) $7, Youth/Students (13-21) $5. Admission is free for members and current UT ID holders.


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