One of the main responsibilities of a museum is to conserve, protect and maintain its permanent collection. At Newport Art Museum, we take this obligation seriously and therefore adhere strictly to the ethics, guidelines and recommendations of the American Alliance of Museum (AAM) in the care of the collection and other areas of the work of the Museum. The Newport Art Museum maintains full accreditation by the AAM – of the estimated 33,000 museums nationwide, only 1,078 have received AAM accreditation. (2019 figures)
The Newport Art Museum, founded in Newport in 1912, began building its collection in 1985. Thanks to generous donors and Museum purchases, the Museum’s permanent collection has grown to over 2,800 works of art. A range of media is represented, including works on paper (prints, drawings, watercolors and photographs), paintings, sculptures, decorative arts, installation works, textiles, and the collection expands to include new media.
Some highlights in the field of American art are the colonial portrait of Gilbert Stuart and John Smibert; works by notable 19th century artists such as Winslow Homer, George Inness, John Frederick Kensett, Fitz Henry Lane, Lilla Cabot Perry, and William Trost Richards; and a large collection of paintings, prints and stained glass by John LaFarge.
The museum is also home to a large number of paintings, prints and drawings by notable 20th century artists such as George Bellows, Philip Guston, Corita Kent, Sol LeWitt, Roy Lichtenstein, Philip Pearlstein, Fairfield Porter, Ad Reinhardt and Andy Warhol, to name a few. The permanent collection also includes significant holdings of works on paper by Francis Adams Comstock and Joseph Norman, as well as photographs by Aaron Siskind. The contemporary art collection includes works by Pouran Jinchi, Arghavan Khosravi, Rania Matar and Lissa Rivera.
Last fall, we were delighted to install Two-Capped by Howard Ben TrÃ© (1949-2020) in the Museum’s courtyard. A gift from Dr. Joseph A. Chazan, this sculpture is a stunning 6 foot double glass column on a gray granite base that captures the distinct qualities of outdoor light in all seasons.
The newest addition to the Museum’s growing collection and the largest photography donation in the Museum’s history includes photographs by six notable photographers: Donna Ferrato, Sally Gall, Ralph Gibson, Alen MacWeeney, David Seltzer and Peter Turnley. The Museum’s principal curator, Francine Weiss, who selected the 118 photographs from a group of a few hundred available, said: âThis important donation allows us to significantly expand our photo collection and increase the number of artists. women depicted, in addition to ‘creating future exhibition conversations’ between photographs from the existing collection by Donna Ferrato, Aaron
Siskind and Joel Meyerowitz, as well as paintings by William Trost Richards.
Besides preserving our rich heritage and our tangible connections to the past, perhaps the most important purpose of an art collection is to share it with the public. Art can inspire, educate, connect and, from time to time, challenge our assumptions. Many of the Museum’s most successful exhibits are those that spark conversation and present diverse perspectives.
To this end, the Museum looks forward to showcasing photographs of our recent gift from photojournalist Donna Ferrato in the exhibition titled “Donna Ferrato: Selections from” Living with the Enemy “. women’s rights and documenting women’s stories and the impacts of domestic violence. In 1991, Ferrato published several of these photographs in Living with the Enemy, which was reprinted four times. More importantly, Ferrato’s work sparked decades of advocacy work for victims of domestic violence and women’s rights that helped attract funds for domestic violence shelters nationwide and raised awareness. on the warning signs of violence, as well as the barriers survivors face when trying to leave their abusers.
A âcommunity conversationâ with representatives of the RI Coalition Against Domestic Violence, the Women’s Resource Center, members of SOAR RI (Sisters Overcoming Abusive Relationships) who survived domestic violence, our senior curator Francine Weiss and photographer Donna Ferrato is scheduled for March 17, 2021 and will take place virtually. Registration for this evening will soon be available on the Museum’s website.
The Newport Art Museum looks forward to strategically expanding its collection and continuing to provide a platform for artists to share their voices and the opportunities for visitors to respond.
âAt the Museumâ, offered by the Newport Art Museum, appears monthly in The Daily News and online at newportri.com. For more information on upcoming exhibitions or events, call (401) 848 8200, visit newportartmuseum.org, or stop by the museum at 76 Bellevue Avenue, Newport.