Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Cleveland Museum of Art: Bulletin of the Museum 1950- (@ClevelandArt)

I had planned on attending a facility recital at the Cleveland Institute of Music tonight, but when I got over to University Circle I couldn't find a parking space, so I returned home. My Grandmother sent a collection of things from my late grandfather -- including a publication dating from 1911 -- which reminded me it's been a little while since the last installment of my Bulletin of the Cleveland Museum of Art retrospective. The complete series, starting with an issue from 1915, can be found here.

September 1950. Thirty-Seventh Year. Number Seven. This bulletin, with a cover featuring a picture of smiling children in the "Junior Museum" is virtually entirely a schedule of events, including "Free Entertainments" for young people Saturday Afternoons at 2:00pm "These programs will consist of films, music, plays, marionette shows, and illustrated talks. Children under six not admitted; adults not admitted until 2.00p.m., and only if seats are available. For a monthly calendar of these events, apply to the Educational Department".

On October 13, Harry Fuchs, a cellist who's name was instantly recognizable and who served the Cleveland Orchestra for nearly 40 years (including the Principal and Assistant Principal chairs) presented a cello recital, and a series of lectures, films, and chamber music  presents a full schedule. Walter Blodgett, Curator of the Department of Musical Arts, continues a series of weekly informal organ recitals

January 1954. Forty First-Year. Number One. A two-year gap exists in my collection of bulletins, but in the centerfold of this issue proves interesting in light of the current Fu Baoshi exhibition: Rocks Orchids and Bamboo, a 1952 acquisition, credited to Shih-t'ao, Chinese from the 1600s. Accompanying the piece, a note, authored by Sherman E. Lee -- four years before being appointed as Director of the museum--an appointment some credit for the museum's tall stature today. That note includes a quote from the artist "I am always myself and must naturally be present in my work. The beards and eyebrows of the old masters cannot grow on my face. The lungs and bowels (thoughts and feelings) of the old masters cannot be transferred into my stomach (mind)."

February, 1954. Forty-First Year. Number Two: Part One.  The Library -- before it adopted the Ingalls name -- is declared to have become a "mine of information" with the acquisition of 29 of the then 36 "coveted volumes of the Old Series of Jahrbuch der kunsthistorischen sammlungen des allerhochsten kaiserhauses. [Google Translate is saying Yearbook of the Art Historical Collections of the Imperial House] The first volume appeared in Vienna in 1883 and the publication is still continued in the New Series". Googling, I can't determine if the New Series is still being extended. The Library is also proud of its acquisition of a complete set of the Societe francaise d'archeologie, published since 1834 "and still in full force". It was still in full force in 1954 and it's still in full force -- now online -- in 2011 with volume 169.

Museum Membership stands at 4,549.

April, 1956. Fourty-Third Year. Number Four. The current renovation and expansion project is not the Museum's first, as this issue opens with photos of the progress and "The progress of the new wing of the Museum is increasingly evident with the erection of the greater part of the steal framework. Only the sections where it will join the present building remain to be set in place" -- It continues, with words that can be taken to heart with the complete enclosure of the new Atrium and West Wing today -- "From now on the progress will be far less evident. On a monumental building such as this, the setting in place of the granite walls [...] and other interior equipment will be at best a lengthy process"

The membership has jumped considerably with a long list of new names and a total membership of 5,902.

September 1956. Forty-Third Year. Number Seven. The cover of this has photos of the 1958 Building -- now demolished -- well under construction, but is otherwise a schedule of events for the next quarter, and nothing particularly notable was noted. It is worth noting though the a subtle evolution in the typesetting was noticed leafing through this issue.

February 1957. Forty-Fourth Year. Number Two: Part Two. More pictures grace the cover of this issue, showing the West Section of the 1958 building connecting to the 1916 building. Now demolished, the land that this building sat on will soon become the "Living Room" of the Museum -- the magnificent new atrium. Again, though, the issue is entirely a schedule of events -- and one that seems to be thinning, perhaps in anticipation of...

April 1957. Forty-Fourth Year. Number Four. "THE CLOSING OF THE MUSEUM" proclaims a headline on the last page of this issue, "The Museum closed to the public on April 1. This decision   was in part necessary because of the plans to re-adapt the present building to new and changed uses, but it was caused by the impossibility of protecting and safeguarding the collections without proper air conditioning and dust control." Further, "During the period the Museum is closed, the Library will continue its services in the Department of Slides and Photographs. However, the borrowers will have to indicate their needs by telephone and the slides or photographs desired can be called for at a new temporary entrance at the West End of the New Wing." and "The public will have no access whatsoever to the building when it is closed."

It concludes with this note from then-Director  William M. Milliken that echos today: "The sacrifices that must be made during the period of transition will be met, one is sure, in the same generous spirit which has marked every relationship between the public and the Museum. The date of completion is not far distant [...]"

During this time, the Museum has encamped at the "Old Art School" on Juniper Drive. While I haven't been able to determine the precise location though this item from the Cleveland Memory Project indicates the intersection of Juniper and Magnolia Drives; if so, that facility -- even that intersection -- is now buried under a Case Western Reserve University Student Residential Village.

With this post turning wordy... I'll save the rest of the 1950s for next time.


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