Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Cleveland Museum of Art: Bulletin of the Museum 1947-50

[This is the fourth installment in a series; Part 1 covers 1915-20, Part 2, from 1920-29, and Part 3 from 1930-47]

I've been swamped at work, preparing for two trips to California, one that's already been rescheduled, and a trip to Michigan for work, plus a different trip for pleasure, so what better way than to relax by slipping 64 years into the Museum's history.

World War II has ended; and in 1947, depending on where you set the marker, the Cold War has either begun or is in its nascent stages. In Cleveland, Burke Lakefront Airport opened for operations; the Case School of Applied Sciences changed its name to the Case Institute of Technology (CIT would join with cross-street rival Western Reserve University 20 years later in 1967 to form Case Western Reserve University). "Untouchable" Eliot Ness was tht year's unsuccessful Republican mayoral candidate.

Television station WEWS, goes on the air on December 17, 1947 and is the first commercial television station in Ohio (16th in the country), it's call letters stand for Cleveland Press founder Edward Willis Scripps* -- perhaps best known as being one half of the Scripps-Howard media empire. WEWS is, to this day, Scripps-Howard's broadcast flagship... but enough background:

October 1947. Thirty Fourth year. Number Eight. On Friday, October 3rd, Lincoln Kirstein, president and director of The School of American Ballet will present a lecture on the Language of Classical Dance. In passing, he's credited as the "Founder of Ballet Society". In 1948, that organization will be renamed New York City Ballet. Oh, and by the way: He was a driving force behind the creation of Lincoln Center in New York -- though not the namesake.

December 1947. Thirty Fourth Year. Number Ten. Membership is rebounding from it's Depression- and World War-induced lows and now stands at 3,838 -- still below the 1920s peaks.

September 1948. Thirty Fifth Year. Number Seven Part One. The bulletin includes a centerfold. Not that kind of centerfold -- Franz Hals's Portrait of a Lady in a Ruff. More interesting, however is the announcement of Masterpieces from the Berlin Museums:

Cleveland is fortunate in being one of the centers of the country in which the
paintings from the Berlin Museums will be shown. They will be exhibited here
from October 6th through October 22nd. In the Spring of 1945, as the United
States armies advanced in Germany, they found a huge cache of art objects in a
salt mine at Mertkers, among which was an outstanding group of paintings, the
finest from the collection of the Kaiser-Fredrich-Museum and numerous examples
from the National-Galerie of Berlin. Shortly thereafter the group was brought to
this country for safekeeping and stored in the vaults of the National Gallery,
Washington DC until such time as it could be returned safely. Such arrangements
have now been made, and of the two hundred examples, half have already recrossed the Atlantic.

It is further noted that a special admission charge of $0.25 will be levied for the exhibition--to be used for the German Children's Relief Fund.

October 1948. Thirty Fifth Year. Number Eight. This month's centerfold, Coronation of the Virgin attributed to Pedro Nicolau-de-Albentosa. The museum's schedule of upcoming events is, understandably, weighted heavily to the Masterpieces from the Berlin Museums exhibition.

April 1949. Thirty Sixth Year. Number Four. The Jane Taft Ingalls Membership Endowment Fund of $1,100.00 (no zeros are unaccounted for) was established by Mrs. Albert S. Ingalls. The Ingalls name is well-associated with the museum via the Ingalls Library, but it does not appear that that association has been fully-forged in 1949. Walter Blodgett, the museum's first Curator of Musical Arts gives an extensive series of organ recitals -- He'll give well over 1,000 of them during his 31-year tenure at the museum. Membership is now reported as 3,962.

June 1949. Thirty Sixth Year. Number 6. Part 1. The museum is maturing as an independent organization, and another tie to its founders fades as John Huntington Hord, grandson of one founder passes.

October 1949. Thirty Sixth Year. Number 8. Those ties further slip as Mrs. Ralph King passes. "Elected a Benefactor by reason of her many gifts to the Museum, she actively carried on the deep interest which she and her husband, the late Ralph King, had shown from the earliest inception of the Museum. The Print Department is a monument to their generosity and to the concern for its development which they aroused in others." Rodin's The Thinker, outside the museum's South Entrance and purchased by the Kings for the Museum in 1917 is among 840 items the Kings donated to the Museum's collection.

December 1949. Thirty Sixth Year. Number Ten. Salmon P. Halle, co-founder of Cleveland's Halle Brothers department store, and like the Kings before him, and active supporter of the Museum's Print Department, passes. As an interesting tangent, actress Halle Berry's name was, reportedly, from her mother's fondness for the Halle's store. William G. Mather, today perhaps best known as the namesake for the Steamship William G Mather, permanently anchored near the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland is elected as Honorary President and Trustee Emeritus. President Harold T. Clark reports that "Mr. Mather asked to be relieved of the burdens of office, but the Trustees, in deferring regretfully to his request, wished to pay him this signal honor. He has served as President from February 14, 1936, as a Trustee from the twenty-fourth of November, 1919 and as a member of the Accessions Committee from July 13, 1915. In that last capacity, the Museum has had the advantage of his wisdom and taste since the year after its incorporation. Few people have had the influence which he has had in the development of the Museum's collections. As Honorary President, the Museum will be able to call oh him, as before, for advice and counsel.

*- For my California readers, this is the same Scripps who's name is scattered about the San Diego area: He retired there in 1890 and died in 1926.

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