Thomas Cole at Fenimore Art Museum
The 2018 season was highlighted by Thomas Cole and The Garden of Eden centering on Cole’s masterwork Expulsion from the Garden of Eden and exploring his aspirations for landscape painting at the start of his career. The exhibition contained sixteen original works from the collections of Fenimore Art Museum and more than a dozen other institutions and private collectors. Fenimore Art Museum planned an exciting slate of multidisciplinary programs to complement, explore, and animate the exhibition Thomas Cole and The Garden of Eden. The centerpiece of the exhibition, Expulsion from the Garden of Eden, from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, opened up a number of challenging themes for investigation: landscape as allegory, landscape as character, the role that choice and destiny play in life, and the ever-vexing relations between the sexes. Understanding that every individual has a different style of learning, the Fenimore aimed to offer opportunities that were wide-ranging, from illuminating lectures to edgy, immersive entertainment and everything in between.
Fenimore Art Museum featured a wide variety of programming related to the exhibition, as well. Food for Thought luncheons and an evening cocktail party with gallery tours led by President and CEO Paul D’Ambrosio proved extremely popular, as did a special afternoon lecture about Thomas Cole’s religious painting by Paul D. Schweizer, Ph.D., Museum Director Emeritus of the Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute.
The museum also presented hands-on workshops for both adults and children related to the exhibition. Susan Jones Kenyon led an adult painting workshop in which students recreated one of Cole’s works, and young children created their own landscape paintings after viewing the Cole exhibition during our Afternoon Art in August program.
Fenimore Art Museum staged two readings of The Diaries of Adam and Eve by David Birney in the Lucy B. Hamilton Amphitheater, free to the public. [Note: one performance was moved into the Fenimore Auditorium due to rain.] The reading was directed by Michael Henrici, and starred Michael and Danielle Henrici as Adam and Eve. The production featured its own set, costumes, and sound design, and attending audiences were treated to apple-themed concessions, all available by donation. This program was presented in association with Samuel French, Inc.
The Thomas Cole National Historic Site welcomed our members for the 2018 Member Trip, allowing them to further their exploration of Thomas Cole. The 2018 Annual Gala was inspired by the exhibition, and was titled The Garden of Eden.
Garden of Eden Gala & Gala Donors
On July 20th, Fenimore Art Museum and The Farmers’ Museum held their annual summer gala. The event was held at the Iroquois Stable and Greenhouses for the first time in its history, which allowed guests to tour the museums’ art collections in the storage facility on site. The theme of the event was inspired by the Thomas Cole exhibition at the Fenimore. Upon arrival to the gala, guests were greeted by “vine people” on stilts, and serenaded by a harp player. As always, the evening included a delicious meal and the excitement of live and silent auctions. The guests pledged just under $9,000 of support for New York History Day programming.
2018 Gala Donors:
Miss Jane Forbes Clark
Alice Busch Gronewaldt Foundation
Malesardi Family Foundation
Tom Morgan & Erna McReynolds Charitable Foundation
$2,500 – $4,999
Mr. and Mrs. Andrew M. Blum
Marc and Elaine Bresee
Robert and Nellie Gipson
Mr. and Mrs. Robert S. Hanft
Mr. Robert Nelson and Mr. Van B. Ramsey
Dr. Jeffrey Pressman and Dr. Nancy Kollisch
Strategic Financial Services
Dawn and Alfred Tinger
Dr. and Mrs. Todd Wetzel
$1,000 – $2,499
Dr. Jacqueline M. Atkins and Dr. Edward G. Atkins
Mr. Fritz Rosenorn-Lehn and Ms. Helene Bonnier
Mr. Gary Cassinelli and Mr. Nick Preston
Cooperstown Natural Foods
Dr. Paul S. and Anna T. D’Ambrosio
Mr. and Mrs. Steven D. Glazer
Mr. and Mrs. Stephen M. Gotwald
Mr. Charles T. Hage and Mrs. Ursula Hage
Dr. and Mrs. Lewis L. Hamilton
Mr. and Mrs. Kevin Harris
Mr. and Mrs. Stephen Harris
Mr. and Mrs. Gates Helms Hawn
The Honorable and Mrs. M. Langhorne Keith
Dr. and Mrs. August Leinhart
Dr. and Mrs. Thomas Older
Paperkite Creative Communications
Patricia M. & H. William Smith Jr. Foundation
Jacqueline Perez and Neeraj Kochhar
Mr. Roland Sanchez and Ms. Mary Gadomski
Mr. and Mrs. Robert B. Schlather
Ms. Cozata Solloway and Mr. Michael Shipman
Mr. and Mrs. Edward W. Stack
Mr. and Mrs. John B. Stetson
Francesca Zambello and Faith Gay
$500 – $999
Bank of Cooperstown
Beekman 1802 LLC
Mr. Stephen M. Cadwalader
Mr. Peyton Franklin Carter III
Mr. and Mrs. Daniel Church
Dr. and Mrs. Douglas E. Evelyn
Fenimore Asset Management, Inc.
Ms. Kathleen Flanagan and Mr. Tim O’Donoghue
Mrs. Veronica Gil Seaver
Dr. Elizabeth B. Harvey
Mr. and Mrs. Tim Horvath
Mr. Thomas Lagan and Ms. Kristen Bellois
Tim and Alison Lord
Mr. and Mrs. Jason McCoy
Dr. Bertine McKenna and Mr. Patrick McKenna
Joseph and Martha Membrino
Mr. and Mrs. J. Michael Moffat
Dr. and Mrs. Randy Parkhurst
James and Stephanie Patrick
Mr. and Mrs. Alexander J. Shields
Mr. and Mrs. Bruno Talevi
Mr. and Mrs. Douglas Thompson
Mr. Martin Tillapaugh and Ms. Meg Tillapaugh
Gifts to $500
Mr. and Mrs. Thomas M. Barry
Dr. and Mrs. Robert E. Booth, Jr.
Mr. and Mrs. Galen Criqui
Mr. and Mrs. Gaylord Dillingham
Mrs. Martha S. Grossi
Dr. Margaret M. Healy
Ms. Danielle Henrici and Mr. Michael Henrici
Mr. and Mrs. Philip R. Holz
Mr. Christopher P. Hulse and Mrs. Jennifer Hulse
Mr. and Mrs. Dennis Jakubowicz
Vera and Pepi Jelinek
Mr. Kent Jones and Mrs. Bonnie McGuire Jones
Mr. Robert Kent
Ms. Elizabeth Ketterson and Mr. Robert Graepel
Mr. Charles B. Kieler
Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Mahon
Robert and Doris Fischer Malesardi
Ms. Paula H. Newman
Dr. and Mrs. Donald A. Raddatz
Jerry and Marisabel Raymond
Mr. and Mrs. Richard Scurry
Royal Hyundai Oneonta, LLC
Mr. and Mrs. Bruno Talevi
The Honorable Ellen R. Tillapaugh and Mr. Gary M. Kuch
Ms. Catherine Tuttle
Ms. Christine Van Deusen
Mr. and Mrs. Hugh K. Webster
Mrs. Lynn Weddington Tucker
Mrs. Linda Wilcox and Mr. James Johnson
Education & Programming Highlights
In November and December of 2018 Fenimore Art Museum launched its first Preschool Tuesdays, carrying the torch after an incredibly successful run at The Farmers’ Museum during the summer and early fall. Ten to twenty toddlers, preschoolers and their guardians joined us for the program each day which featured a variety of programming designed to keep young people engaged and excited about the arts. The one-hour programs include storytelling, in-gallery games and activities highlighting artworks in both the permanent collection and temporary exhibitions, a hands-on craft to take home, and performance-based activities in the museum’s Auditorium. In the spring of 2019 Preschool Tuesdays continue and will be centered around the special exhibition, Elephant & Piggie in We Are Art!
NEW YORK HISTORY DAY
National History Day (NHD) is a year-long academic program focused on historical research, interpretation and creative expression for 6th- to 12th-grade students. Students who participate in NHD become writers, filmmakers, web designers, playwrights and artists as they create unique contemporary expressions of history. More than half a million students participate in the program annually. Students engage in original research on historical topics, and compete with other students in local, regional, and affiliate or state contests, with the top students advancing to the national contest at the University of Maryland in College Park.
Since 1980 Fenimore Art Museum has been the NHD host and coordinator for New York State. In 2018, approximately 13,000 New York students participated in History Day contests at their local schools. 1,980 students participated at the various regional levels, and over 500 competed at the state contest in Cooperstown. Of these, seventy-five students from throughout New York went on to represent our students and schools at the national contest.
The theme for 2018 was Conflict and Compromise, and students picked topics relating to the theme. Student projects included papers, documentaries, websites, exhibits, and performances. On New York History Day, April 23, 2018, the campuses of both Fenimore Art Museum and The Farmers’ Museum were filled with happy, anxious, and excited students from across the state, cheered on by their teachers and family members. It was an extremely busy and highly gratifying day for students, staff, judges, and other volunteers who make this such a memorable annual event.
In 2018 Fenimore Art Museum launched its series of MORECards, special sets of postcards offered complimentary to museum visitors. MORECards feature images of artworks in the museum’s permanent collection (and in some cases special exhibitions, such as Thomas Cole and the Garden of Eden, sponsored by ArtBridges) and offer interesting facts about the artwork or artist as well as a question or suggestion meant to foster closer investigation, open interpretation, and conversation. Cards are organized into five sets of three cards, each set based on a different theme. For example, Face to Face highlights portraits in the collection, while In Process focuses on the production of the artworks and objects themselves. Thousands of these card sets were collected by visitors in 2018.
No matter the time of year, there is always so much happening at the Research Library. Below are a few noteworthy events that took place just last year.
On May 30th, we had the distinct pleasure of meeting current Librarian of Congress Dr. Carla Hayden while she visited Cooperstown for the Symposium on Baseball and American Culture. A very special behind-the-scenes tour was arranged to highlight some of our most important American manuscript collections. These included items from the Jacob Morris Archive, Belva Lockwood Collection, and the Lincoln Autopsy Notes.
In October, staff delivered two professional development seminars for Long Island historians and museums. Supported through a generous grant from the Robert D. L. Gardiner Foundation, these workshops utilized our Hamilton-Burr Duel Collection as an example of archival best practices and best practices for incorporating historic documents into school programs.
In December, the Library was awarded the first of two digitization grants from South Central Library Council. Both focus on Otsego County newspapers and will be complete by 2019’s end.
We hope to see you at the Library soon! For more information about the Research Library, please email or call (607) 547-1470.
2018 Library Donations:
The Robert David Lion Gardiner Foundation
The Tianaderrah Foundation
$1,000 – $9,999
Bentley Holden Fund
South Central Regional Library Council
$100 – $999
Ms. Mary Ann Oliver
Ms. Susan T. Witt
Gifts to $99
Mr. Noel H. Dries
Mrs. Leigh Eckmair
Mrs. Martha S. Grossi
Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Heitz
Ms. Patricia F. Scott
Mr. and Mrs. Albert Weiss
2018 Collections Highlights & Acquisitions
Our collections acquisitions for 2018 illustrate the breadth of interests encompassed by Fenimore Art Museum. We were saddened by the passing of Gene and Clare Thaw but proudly carry on their legacy through the Thaw Collection of American Indian Art as well as the generous gifts of American art made in 2018. These include the magnificent Elk Swimming the Platte by Alfred Jacob Miller and several stunning still life paintings by Harriet Yost, Clare Thaw’s great-grandmother. Other acquisitions include three original photographs by Ansel Adams, depicting sites inhabited by Native American tribes represented in the Thaw Collection. These images are part of a new initiative to collect world-class American photography of sites connected to our American Indian art masterworks. We are also thrilled to include Victoria Wyeth among the photographers in our collection, as we accepted three intimate and beautiful images she created of her grandfather and Uncle, Andrew and Jamie Wyeth.
2018 Collections Acquisitions
Painting. Indians Hunting Elk by Alfred Jacob Miller, 1837, oil on canvas. Gift of Eugene V. and Clare E. Thaw Charitable Trust.
Painting. Theorem paintings (5) by Harriet Yost, ca. 1840. Gift of Eugene V. and Clare E. Thaw Charitable Trust.
Manuscripts. Two letters from George Croghan to Philadelphia merchant and speculator Thomas Wharton regarding land purchases, both dated 1769. Gift of J. Michael Moffat.
Historic document. William Cooper Indenture for 1,160 acres in Otsego County, New York date 1797. Gift of William Seyler.
Auction catalogs. A collection of over 300 auction catalogs illustrating important 20th century works of American Fine and Folk Art. Auction houses include American Art Association / Anderson Galleries, Christies, Parke Bernet, and Sotheby’s; many of the publications are rare or hard-to-find. Gift of Jon and Becky Zoler.
Glass pieces. Two Redford Crown glass pieces given to Mrs. Helen Allan after her retirement from Clinton County Historical Museum by Peggy Byrne. Gift of Helen and Derek Allan.
Paintings. (2) by Henry DiSpirito, late 1960’s/early 1970’s, oil on canvas: Fog on Otsego Lake and Rainy Day on Otsego Lake. Gift of Theresa DiSpirito, Dolores DiSpirito, and Loretta DiSpirito Loconto.
Blanket. Uncas Lodge blanket – Hudson Bay. Gift of Tim Averill.
Paintings. Orango-Tango by John Sloan, ca. February 1914, crayon on paper; Art for the Masses (1911-17): A Radical Magazine and its Graphics (contains provenance for Orango-Tango); Untitled (drawing of dog) by Peter Jemison, watercolor on paper. Gift of Eugene V. and Clare E. Thaw Charitable Trust.
Stained Glass. Winter Skating Scene, late 19th c., painted stained glass. Gift of Dick Button.
Prints. Silver gelatin prints (3) by Victoria Wyeth: Andy Painting Only Child, 1999; Andrew & Jamie on Monhegan Island, 1997; My First Photo of Andy, 1993/1994. Gift of Victoria Wyeth.
Photograph. Middletown Hospital School of Nursing student nurse uniform (apron) and armband worn by Patricia A. Smith (Roesch) of Fly Creek, NY. Gift of Maureen Murray.
Photographs. Photographs of doctors/nurses at Bassett Hospital (5 loose ca. 1992, 2 framed ca. 1990-91, 54 in scrapbook). Gift of Maureen Murray.
Thanksgiving Hospital Items. One 10k gold lapel pin with white circle and red cross decoration and Thanksgiving Hospital Cooperstown engraving; One sterling silver lapel pin with black and white enamel decoration and Thanksgiving Hospital Cooperstown 1919 engraving; One woman’s gold signet ring with Thanksgiving Hospital 1932 engraving. Gift of Maureen Murray.
Bowl. Fulton Aspect bowl, Caddo, ca. 800-1200 A.D., Miller County, Arkansas. Gift of Richard Niehoff.
Painting. Caricature of J.H.I Browere, American School, possibly by William Dunlap, oil on board. Museum Purchase.
Prints. Gelatin silver prints (3) by Ansel Adams: The Atlantic: Schoodic Point, 1950; White House Ruin Morning: Canyon De Chelly, 1950; Petroglyphs, Monument Valley, Utah, 1970. Museum Purchase.