Why are these people smiling, and what's in that box?


On September 22, 2017, Jon Carfagno and Clarissa Starnes drove to Columbia SC to pick up this box. But the contents of the box were kept a closely gaurded secret until HMA's unveiling event on November 18th, 2017.

Back story: Museums including HMA often borrow and lend art from and to each other for exhibits, most commonly for a single-artist show where multiple museums hold examples of that artist's work.  In a recent instance, in early 2017 we were contacted by the Mattatuck Museum in Waterbury, CT for the loan of three of HMA’s Jane Peterson works for their comprehensive November 2017 Peterson show that would also travel to several other museums including the Columbia Museum of Art in Columbia, SC. The Mattatuck is AAM accredited (the same as HMA) and similar to HMA in size and purpose; and this would be good exposure for HMA.

The request was reviewed by HMA's Acquisitions Committee in February 2017, where Clarissa reassured that she had examined the satisfactory facility reports for all the participating museums. All are AAM accredited. The loan was approved by the committee contingent on evidence of adequate crating and shipping arrangements including between the the several locations, at the borrowing institutions' cost as is customary. The required evidence was satisfactorily provided, and HMA's Board gave final approval of the loan in May.

While negotiating this loan with the Mattatuck Museum's organizing curator, Cynthia Roznoy, Jon inquired about some form of reciprocating regional collaboration among the participating venues. The result of that inquiry was the long-term loan to HMA of Evelyn De Morgan's The Undiscovered Country, a fan favorite at the Columbia Museum of Art which owns the painting. (Read here about the De Morgan painting and De Morgan herself.)

Jane Peterson: At Home and Abroad opened November 19, 2017 at the Mattatuck Museum, reaching Columbia on May 13, 2018. Above are the three Peterson Masterpiece works that will be part of the traveling show: Yellow Roses (ca. 1925), Beach Scene, and of course The Windowseat. All are oil on canvas and in good condition, meaning that they can safely travel.

HMA blog post about Jane Peterson (1876-1965)Peterson’s ambition was to be judged not as a woman but as a painter, and this she achieved. She became famous for a wide range of works from landscapes to still-lives. Her The Windowseat continues to be a favorite of HMA visitors. (Check out this post to see Clarissa posed with two live boys and a stuffed dog to form a tableau of that very work.)

Post by Karin Borei, HMA Project Coordinator, writer and editor as needed, and HMA blogger since March 2015.