Rare Pieces Highlighted in the New Ulla R. and Arthur F. Searing Wing at The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art
Sarasota, FL—January 29, 2007—Two exceptional pocket exhibitions from The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art’s permanent collection will open in the Ulla R. and Arthur F. Searing Wing on Feb. 3, 2007. These exhibitions are intimate presentations of select works offering visitors an opportunity to experience the Museum’s most impressive pieces. The first exhibition features two portrait paintings by Frans Hals. The second exhibition, Stone and Fire, showcases rare jades and porcelain pieces from the Museum’s Asian art collection. The exhibition open alongside the Bedazzled: 5,000 Years of Jewelry from the Walters Art Museum and Encouraging American Genius: Master Paintings From the Corcoran Gallery of Art.
“With a collection of over 16,000 pieces, we don’t have the opportunity to display many of the rare and prestigious works that deserve attention” said Curator of Collections Dr. Stephen Borys. “This space allows us to display some of these in a manner that draws attention to a particular aspect of the piece or genre on display, whether it is an exceptional model of technique or a defining historical period or artistic movement.”
The Ringling Museum of Art has long been privileged to have in its collection an important painting by Frans Hals called Portrait of Pieter Jacobsz, Olycan from the 17th century. Through research and scholarly exchange of information, a pendant the painting was located at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. It is the presumed portrait of his wife, Maritge Voogt Claesdr (1577-1644). The Rijksmuseum’s painting, Portrait of Maritage Voogt Claesdr, has recently been restored at the Clark Art Institute in Massachusetts.
The two works will be shown together in the new Searing Wing and they will be exhibited together until the end of April 2007. Then, as part of the Ringling Museum’s new Masterworks exchange, they will travel together to the Clark and eventually, to the Rijksmuseum when its renovations are completed in 2009.
Stone And Fire
The Ringling Museum’s collection of European and American art was greatly enriched in 2001 and in 2006 with two gifts of comprehensive Asian collections.
The Koger Collection of Chinese ceramics was acquired by the Museum in 2002.
Dr. Helga Wall-Apelt, the noted art collector, philanthropist and founder of Sarasota’s Museum of Asian art made a pledged to the Ringling Museum in 2006 of her collection of magnificent jades, Cambodian stone figures, Southeast Asian bronze sculptures and contemporary Asian art.
Select pieces from the Wall-Apelt collection will be paired with pieces from the Koger Collection showcasing the strength of the Ringling Museum’s Non-western collection.
Stone and Fire is a combination of heavenly jade and porcelain, popular media in China for over seven thousand years. Five jades from the Helga Wall-Apelt collection are paired with seven white porcelain wares, known as blanc de Chine, from the Kroger Collection. With its enchanting green or pale, white hue, the jades are gently, yet strikingly, arranged with the blanc de Chine to illuminate their exquisite detail, nimble craftsmanship and refinement qualities.
The blanc de Chine figures make up the majority of the Koger collection, and more significantly, comprise one of the most comprehensive collections of this particular type of ceramic anywhere in the world.
From calligraphic brushes to elegant vessels, from landscapes to religious figures, jade objects took on a wider range of shapes and subjects than had been known in previous generations. Stone and Fire presents a variety of works created during this period, often considered the golden age of jade carving.
Primarly displayed together for their common aesthetic qualities, the blanc de Chine and jades invite thought-provoking comparisons when singled out from their collections. Both are exemplary models of the refinement technique and process—one that only the most adroit and patient craftsman can master. The best jades are free of flaws (like any gemstone), and the best porcelains are made of highly refined clay and cleansed of impurities. The refinement process of these objects is almost ritualistic in themselves and require a patient and persistent craftsman. Despite the incredible popularity of these wares, only a small number of craftsmen are known by name.
Both exhibitions will be on display from Feb. 3, 2007 through April 29, 2007.