Eugene and Clare Thaw: A Memorial Tribute

March 31 – December 30, 2018












Over the last year, Fenimore Art Museum lost its beloved friends and benefactors, Clare E. and Eugene V. Thaw. The Thaws’ passion for collecting spanned the ages and the globe to include ancient Eurasian bronzes, early medieval jewelry, architectural models, watercolors of classic European interiors, and a master drawing collection. They supported and enriched many institutions in addition to Fenimore Art Museum, including the Morgan Library & Museum, the Clark Art Institute, the Cooper Hewitt, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Gene and Clare Thaw had a profound impact on Fenimore Art Museum with their gift of nearly 900 masterpieces of American Indian Art over the course of twenty-two years beginning in 1995. In recognition of this magnificent gift, we mounted the first of two memorial exhibitions of the collection. In 2018 we highlighted the pieces collected when the Thaws first discovered American Indian art in Santa Fe in the 1980s focusing on objects with the American Flag.

A selected group of masterpieces was on exhibit at the Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute, Utica, NY. American Indian Art from the Fenimore Art Museum, October – December 2018 featured 44 works of art from the Eugene V. and Clare E. Thaw Collection of American Indian Art. This exhibition gave the Fenimore an opportunity to share these significant works with over 3,000 school children from the Utica area.

Thanks to the Thaws’ generosity, we have the opportunity to experience and learn from these stunning artworks, which are rapidly redefining the pantheon of world art.


Seen & Unseen: Photographs by Imogen Cunningham

August 11 – October 14, 2018







Seen & Unseen: Photographs by Imogen Cunningham introduced a pioneering woman artist to our audience, whose work reflected vital development in 20th-century art and helped establish photography as an art form. Never tied to one style of photography or subject, Cunningham had a signature view in what she created. Her photographs are seductive and dynamic and inspired by a multitude of sources, with Cunningham considered one of the most experimental photographers in her lifetime. This exhibition, with work taken from a seventy-year career, uncommon for a woman of that time, presented unusual and rare images alongside iconic ones, revealing why this American artist is one of the most important pioneers of photography.

This exhibit consisted of silver gelatin prints from the Imogen Cunningham Trust and was curated by Celina Lunsford. The exhibition is a production by Meg Partridge, Director of the Imogen Cunningham Trust, and Photographic Traveling Exhibitions.


Puzzles of the Brain: An Artist’s Journey Through Amnesia

October 15 – December 30, 2018








Puzzles of the Brain: An Artist’s Journey through Amnesia examined the creative process and the perseverance of artist and community member Lonni Sue Johnson, in navigating daunting mental health challenges. In late December of 2007 Lonni Sue Johnson contracted encephalitis resulting in profound amnesia—a deficit in memory. Curated by Aline Johnson, the artist’s sister, the exhibit chronicled the artist’s pre- and post-illness work and the therapeutic power of art. Aline Johnson gave an evening presentation at the museum, talking about her sister’s condition and current work to an audience of community members, many of whom remembered Lonni Sue’s presence in Cooperstown.


Winter Warmth: Coverlets, Quilts, and Clothing

October 27 – December 30, 2018








For the holiday season, the museum mounted Winter Warmth: Quilts, Coverlets, and Clothing featuring vintage quilts and coverlets as well as scarves, hats, mittens, muffs, and photographs from the Fenimore Art Museum collection. Visitors enjoyed seeing rarely displayed items from the collection, including a full-sized sleigh. The exhibition inspired discussions about how we all kept warm before the advent of electric blankets, smart wool, and microfiber, as well as the virtues of muffs and the intricacies of hand-quilting. A follow-up exhibit is planned for this winter, with a focus on winter sports, once again drawn from Fenimore Art Museum’s collections.


Additional 2018 Exhibitions

Edward Weston: Portrait of the Young Man as an Artist
March 31 – August 5, 2018

History: Photographs by David Levinthal
March 31 – December 30, 2018

Native Celebrations of the Inland Northwest: Photographs by Jeff Ferguson
March 31 – December 30, 2018

American Folk Art: Seven Decades of Collecting
March 31 – May 13, 2018

Thomas Cole and the Garden of Eden
with loans from various institutions
May 25 – September 30, 2018

Hamilton’s Final Act: Enemies and Allies
March 31 – December 30, 2018

The Barber Surreal: Eugene Berman’s Reimagined Barber of Seville
Met Opera loans
March 31 – December 30, 2018


Listing of 2018 Community Gallery Exhibitions

April – Experience Springbrook, Springbrook

May – Our Town, Cooperstown High School/Honoring Commerce and Community, Cooperstown Graduate Program

June – Here Comes the Sun, LEAF

July – Hope is the Thing, Shannon Delany

August – Tatiana Rhinevault & Brent Delanoy, 2017 Art by the Lake Award Winners

September – Side by Side, Charles and Janet Munro

October – 2nd Annual Museum Members’ Showcase, Fenimore Art Museum Members

November – Patrick Fiore & Halycon Westmaas, The Mohawk Valley Resource Center for Refugees

December – Rural Vitality: A Story Told Through Trees, SUNY Cobleskill & the Grosvenor Art Gallery