A spectacular new presentation of the grand American Wing presents more than 800 paintings, sculptures, and decorative arts, revealing surprising connections and fascinating stories. Thematic displays explore the international character of American art and Baltimore's position as a major center for art production and foreign trade from the late 18th century forward.
State-of-the-art lighting, new herringbone wood floors, a new palette of colors for the walls and ceilings, and many other improvements bring forth John Russell Pope’s magnificent neoclassical architecture as the perfect setting for the BMA’s masterpieces of American art.
Just one of the many highlights in the new presentation is a stunning, light-infused gallery featuring outstanding examples of Louis Comfort Tiffany's decorative works and those of his colleagues and competitors. See vibrant stained-glass windows, towering columns adorned with mosaics, an elaborate mantelpiece, and stunning, silver objects. This breathtaking moment in the collection shows how decorative arts thrived in the glamorous late 19th century, achieving commercial and critical success.
Two galleries will be dedicated to modern American masterpieces by Georgia O'Keeffe, Jacob Lawrence, Marsden Hartley, Joseph Stella, and many other acclaimed artists. A selection of 21st-century objects, such as Richard Lee's Sinking and Burning (2005), a cabinet with reverse glass painting, will also reveal unexpected links between historic and contemporary American art.
The American Wing's namesake, Dorothy McIlvain Scott, was a lifelong Member as well as a Trustee and Honorary Trustee of the Museum for more than 35 years. Her generous gift to endow the American Wing was the largest individual gift in the BMA's history. Miss Scott was also an avid collector of American paintings, furniture, and decorative arts.
Curated by David Park Curry, Senior Curator of Decorative Arts and American Painting & Sculpture
Lessons Learned: American Schoolgirl Embroideries
November 23, 2014–May 2015
Lessons Learned: American Schoolgirl Embroideries heralds the return of the Jean and Allan Berman Textile Gallery, located within the renovated American Wing. The exhibition features more than 20 samplers and silk embroideries made by American girls who attended schools in Maryland and other East Coast states during the 18th and 19th centuries.
From opulent to understated, the works provide a fascinating glimpse into early American life. The samplers and embroideries on view were once displayed by families as showpieces to advertise their daughters’ accomplishments. Landscapes, still lifes, tributes to national heroes, and literary and biblical scenes are among the wide range of subjects. One of the most elaborate works depicts the exuberant interior of King Solomon’s palace and the imperial trappings of the Queen of Sheba’s entourage in silk, metallic threads, sequins, and glass gems.
Curated by Anita Jones, Curator of Textiles