NOTRE DAME, IN.- The Snite Museum of Art
on the campus of the University of Notre Dame opened a new exhibition, Breaking the Mold: The Legacy of the Noah L. and Muriel S. Butkin Collection of Nineteenth-Century French Art, September 2, 2012.
The exhibition of eighty paintings, oil sketches, and drawings provides a welcome and overdue opportunity to recognize the Butkins impressive generosity to both the Snite Museum of Art and the Cleveland Museum of Art. Both institutions benefited greatly from the Butkins prescient, mold-breaking taste for nineteenth-century French art, and from their keen eyes, careful recordkeeping and gracious spirits, said Charles Loving, Director of the Snite Museum.
The exhibition insightfully examines the formation and scope of the Noah L. and Muriel S. Butkin collection at the Snite Museum. The Butkins, collectors and philanthropists in Cleveland, were at the forefront of the art historical re-evaluation of realist, naturalist and academic painting in the 1970s, championing nineteenth-century French paintings and drawings by artists as diverse as Pierre Puvis de Chavannes, Jean-Léon Gérôme, François Bonvin, Théodule Ribot, Léon Lhermitte, and Jehan-Georges Vibert. Their generous donation to the Snite Museum of Art now forms the core of a collection that emphasizes the contribution of a varied range of artists to the development of nineteenth-century art. The breadth of perspectives represented by the exhibition is further complemented by the generous loan of fourteen works from the Butkins donation to the Cleveland Museum of Art.
This exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalog distributed by Washington University Press and made possible by generous gifts from Mr. and Mrs. Thomas J. Lee 59 and Mr. Ralph M. Hass 39. Essays examine how the collection was created, and detailed entries on each work present a timely study of the collectors and artists whose contributions deserve much broader attention. The work of a group of scholars guided by editor, Gabriel P. Weisberg, professor of art history, University of Minnesota, former curator at the Cleveland Museum of Art, and curator of Breaking the Mold, offers a significant contribution to our understanding of nineteenth-century art history. Additional authors include Kirsten Appleyard MA 11, Heather Lemonedes, Sarah Sik and Janet Whitmore, with research assistance by Yvonne Weisberg.