The Kreeger Museum reopened to the public on Tuesday, September 19, 2017, with the unveiling of Phase I of the Museum’s reinstalled permanent collection. Guest curated by modern art historian Harry Cooper, the reinstallation introduces works that have not been on view for several years, while offering fresh perspectives on collection favorites by Claude Monet, Pablo Picasso, Vincent Van Gogh, and other modern and Impressionist masters.
“I am thrilled to share this thoughtful reinstallation of our galleries with visitors. Reintroduced paintings will present new opportunities for education and research, while key works that have been relocated are literally shown in a new light in our Philip Johnson-designed building,” says Museum Director Helen Chason.
Phase I of the reinstallation comprises the Museum’s main floor galleries and focuses on 19th- and early 20th-century painting and works on paper. Objects on view for the first time in several years include an early portrait by Edvard Munch, two winter landscapes by Impressionist painter Alfred Sisley, a mature pastoral scene by Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, and a signature Surrealist landscape by French painter Yves Tanguy.
Phase II of the reinstallation, which will open to the public later in the fall, will focus on the Museum’s postwar and contemporary art holdings, including a bold vertical canvas by Abstract Expressionist Hans Hofmann, as well as the Museum’s collection of West African masks. The downstairs galleries will remain closed as this phase is completed.
An opening reception for members of The Kreeger Museum and the press is scheduled for Wednesday, October 18, from 6 to 8 pm.
The Museum’s reopening on September 19 also marks the unveiling of Against the Day, 2007, a recently acquired work by California sculptor Richard Deutsch that occupies the North Lawn of the Museum. A gift from the Chevy Chase Land Company of Montgomery County, Maryland, Against the Day comprises eight sculptures: five white granite “benches” surround a central row of three geometric forms in white, red, and black granite.
Deutsch’s past public art commissions include a 50-foot-tall lyrical stainless steel sculpture centrally located at Foundry Square, an urban intersection of San Francisco; an interactive performance space in Arlington, Virginia; and sculptures on the campuses of Stanford University and the University of Delaware. His work is included in such major collections as the de Young Museum in San Francisco, the Renwick Gallery in Washington, DC, the Tucson Museum of Art, and the Oakland Museum of California.
“Against the Day is a phenomenal addition to our growing Sculpture Garden. Over his 30-year career, Richard Deutsch has enlivened public spaces across the country with bold, architectural sculptures that prioritize the experience of the viewer,” says Chason. “His practice is perfectly in line with The Kreeger Museum’s dual commitment to art and architecture.”
The sight lines of Against the Day are intended to draw viewers to the northern edge of the Sculpture Garden, which offers long views of the Museum building and nearby contemporary sculpture. The work’s abstract elements belie a humanistic subject: according to Deutsch, the circular white form, with its keyhole-like window, symbolizes curiosity; peering through it directs the eye first toward the red sculpture, an abstracted representation of the human heart, and then to the large black monolith, which symbolizes strength and wisdom.
Deutsch is particularly interested in the way that viewers physically experience and move around sculpture, which he refers to as the “drama around objects.” He describes Against the Day as “huggable,” and Museum visitors are encouraged to sit on the benches and physically interact with the sculptures. “It is how the viewer sees them, their perspective, how they move through the space, and how the relationships change that are the guiding factors to the composition,” says Deutsch. “Against the Day in its current location at The Kreeger Museum is my best example of that exercise to date.”
Both the Sculpture Garden and Museum galleries will be open to the public Tuesdays through Saturdays, 10am to 4pm.
(via the Kreeger Museum. Photo courtesy of Kreeger Museum.)