Museum To Feature Surrealists' Prints

"Visionary States" exhibition to open Jan. 18

By Rosanne Lafiosca Pellegrini
Contributing Staff

The McMullen Museum of Art will host "Visionary States: Surrealist Prints from The Gilbert Kaplan Collection," an exhibition of rare Surrealist prints on display from Jan. 18 through May 17.

Drawn from the collection of New York publisher Gilbert Kaplan, who has assembled one of the most comprehensive Surrealist print collections in the world, "Visionary States" marks the first time selections from the Kaplan collection have toured.

"The McMullen Museum is pleased to offer selections from this most distinguished collection of works from a period that is rarely shown in and studied by New England-area museums," said McMullen Museum Director Nancy Netzer.

"Surrealism was a revolutionary idea in the arts in the early 1900s and 1920s, and is still a powerful influence on contemporary art," according to McMullen Museum Curator Alston Conley. "These prints trace the development of the main figures in the surrealist movement from 1919 to 1971."

Rene Magritte's etching "Paysage de Baucis (Baucis' Landscape)" is among the prints included in the exhibition.

The exhibition features approximately 120 prints by 23 artists, including the foremost artists of the Surrealist movement. Works by Salvador Dali, Rene Magritte, Joan Miro, Pablo Picasso and Man Ray will be among those included in the exhibition.

Kaplan, founder of Institutional Investor magazine, will speak at the exhibition's opening reception on Sunday, Jan. 18 from 3-6 p.m. at the museum. The exhibition will be opened officially by Maurice Portiche, consul general of France in Boston, and an introductory lecture on Surrealism and the exhibition will be delivered by Assoc. Prof. Jeffery Howe (Fine Arts) at 4 p.m.

According to exhibition organizers, the rarest prints in "Visionary States" include a complete set of Miro's "Black and Red Series," a suite of eight etchings made in 1938, and Roberto Matta's untitled etching from the 1943 series "The New School." Other significant prints include Max Ernst's first etching, "Pays sage II," made in 1923; Andre Masson's 1933 etching "Ondine"; Oscar Dominguez's 1935 etching "Femme a la bicyclette (Woman with a Bicycle)"; and several etchings by Salvador Dali including "Le Revolver à cheveux blancs (The White-haired Revolver)" of 1932.

Also included in the exhibition are works made to illustrate books. Among them are Victor Brauner's first etching, as well as etchings of fantastical mechanical objects by Yves Tanguy from Jean Laude's Les Grand Passage of 1954.

"Visionary States" is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue, with an introduction by Riva Castleman, director emeritus of prints and illustrated books at The Museum of Modern Art in New York.

A series of international films, organized by Prof. John Michalczyk (Fine Arts) also will accompany the exhibition. The series, "The Surrealist Film and Beyond," will show the evolution of the Surrealist tradition from historical provocations to more contemporary films.

"Our interest is not only to show the origins of historical Surrealist film, but also Surrealist traditions in exotic and contemporary films," according to Michalczyk.

The films will include: Luis Buñuel's "Andalusian Dog" and "The Golden Age" on Jan. 22 and "That Obscure Object of Desire" on Jan. 29; Ingmar Bergman's "Wild Strawberries" on Feb. 5; and Bruno Barreto's "Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands" on Feb. 12.

All films will be screened at 7 p.m. at a campus location to be announced. The series is free and open to the public.

In conjunction with "Visionary States," the Fine Arts Department is offering a spring undergraduate course, "Surrealism and the Arts,"; taught by Michalczyk and Howe.

The McMullen Museum is located in Devlin Hall and is open Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. Admission is free. For additional information on the exhibition and the film series, contact the Arts Line at ext. 2-8100.

The exhibition is being circulated nationally by the American Federation of Arts. Founded in 1909, the AFA is the nation's oldest and most comprehensive non-profit art museum service organization.

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