Lead Sponsor: Worth & Company, Inc.
Co-sponsor: Gratz Gallery & Conservation Studio
Additional Support: Steve Kalafar, Flemington Car & Truck Country Family of Dealerships; Malmark, Inc.
This project has been funded in part by a grant from the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission.
Over its first two decades, the Museum has partnered with artists, donors, and community organizations to build a collection of over 2200 works that sample the Bucks County region’s rich artistic and cultural heritage. With over 100 works on display throughout the Museum, Twenty Years of Collecting celebrates the Michener’s twentieth anniversary by presenting a selection of its most outstanding acquisitions.
From its earliest acquisitions of Pennsylvania impressionist paintings to its more recent additions of modern studio furniture and contemporary video art, the Museum has focused its collecting mission on advancing knowledge and understanding of the ideas, values, and technical innovations that have shaped the region’s visual arts. In showcasing both historic and contemporary work including portraits, figure studies, landscapes, narrative and genre paintings, and decorative arts, this exhibition documents the extraordinary growth of the Museum’s collections and explores the principles and methods that have guided its development as well as the institution’s initial steps in uncharted new directions.
The Byers, Hankin, Betz, Putman Smith, Commonwealth, and Wachovia Galleries will be organized around a series of themes that reveal the dynamic technical and conceptual innovations that are part of the rich and colorful history of the Bucks County’s visual arts tradition.
The Figure is the focus in the Byers Gallery, where a selection of portraits, figure studies, and narrative paintings suggest how the Bucks County artist’s approach to the figure has evolved over time.
Art that is Life is the theme of the Hankin Gallery, where selections from the Museum’s decorative arts collection highlight the strong Bucks County tradition of creating functional turned and carved wooden objects.
The Artist at Work is the focus of the Betz Gallery. Our collections include more than finished works. On view will be preparatory sketches, artists’ tools, and models providing glimpses of works in genesis.
The Pennsylvania Impressionist Landscape is the focus of works in the Putman Smith Gallery, which will highlight these artists as a core element of the Museum’s vision for its collection.
Rethinking Representation is the theme of the Commonwealth Gallery, which will include work by modernist and contemporary artists and highlight the Museum’s mission of representing and supporting modern and contemporary art of the Bucks County region.
The Wachovia Gallery is the setting for exploring the Michener’s Patterns of Collecting: telling the story of how we have partnered with donors, engaged the community, and established an intellectual framework for collections from the region’s artistic traditions and cultural values as well as our institutional goals.