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This spring’s monumental exhibition The Critique of Reason: Romantic Art, 1760–1860 marks an important moment for the arts at Yale University, as it is the first collaborative exhibition jointly mounted by the Yale Center for British Art and Yale University Art Gallery.
While the two teaching museums have generously lent works to each other and our curators have consulted one another on many projects over the past four decades, this exhibition is the result of a team of curators and fellows from both institutions working closely together from inception to installation. As the saying goes, the resulting whole is greater than the sum of its parts, with the show bringing together an array of outstanding eighteenth- and nineteenth-century works from two great collections. Once the exhibition concludes in July, a number of artworks lent by the Center will remain on view at the Gallery while the Center continues the yearlong renovation of its 1978 Louis Kahn building.
A rich spirit of collaboration inspires many of the Gallery’s most successful projects. This past summer, we partnered with New Haven Promise—the Yale-sponsored program that provides scholarships to graduates of New Haven public high schools—to offer six internships to local youths seeking to gain practical experience working in a museum. We learned much from the participating college students and the skills and ideas they brought to their work. Their achievements at the Gallery have had a lasting impact and inspired us to continue and expand this program in summer 2015. Our new after-school teen program is the result of a group effort by New Haven Promise students and our Education Department.
John Walsh, B.A. 1961, is a role model for all of us when we think of what it means to collaborate. Highly respected by his peers and revered by active learners of all ages, John constantly encourages all of us to view art with both discernment and pleasure. When he is training the Wurtele Gallery Teachers with Jessica Sack, the Jan and Frederick Mayer Senior Associate Curator of Public Education, they both consistently encourage students to swiftly step into the role of teacher, doing so while providing them with a strong foundation in close-looking and active questioning. In debuting another collaborative project, John has teamed up with Laurence Kanter, Chief Curator and the Lionel Goldfrank III Curator of European Art, to present a stunning installation of works borrowed from the renowned Rose-Marie and Eijk van Otterloo collection of Dutch Old Master paintings, a project that includes very rich public programming.
Our collection-sharing initiative, which makes works of art from the Gallery’s collection available to participating institutions, is a model of partnership that other museums want to join or emulate. We will soon share works from the exhibition Vida y Drama de México: Prints from the Monroe E. Price and Aimée Brown Price Collection with the Vincent Price Art Museum at East Los Angeles College, a teaching museum with a strong collection of modern and contemporary Hispanic art.
Finally, my colleagues and I are very grateful to Kate Ezra, who just retired as the Nolen Curator of Education and Academic Affairs. She has done so much to develop many wonderful relationships with a legion of faculty members who now regularly enrich their courses with direct encounters with the Gallery’s collections and curators. I also look forward to the forthcoming artistic and educational collaborations our newest staff members will develop across Yale’s campus and in our New Haven community. Please visit with us often and enjoy the great pleasures that you will find in the Gallery, always free and open to the public.
The Henry J. Heinz II Director
Jock Reynolds, the Henry J. Heinz II Director