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Something Old/Something New: Gifts from Alumni

One of the great excitements of curating a university collection is the opportunity offered by working directly with alumni and having a chance to get to know them and their diverse collecting interests on a personal level. The Johnson Museum’s collection has been compiled largely from gifts from these many generous alumni, and over the years the works on paper collection has grown from its initial gift of approximately three thousand prints, drawings, and photographs from the collection of William P. Chapman, Class of 1895, to its current holdings of nearly twenty-two thousand pieces. The scope and breadth of this collection enables us to teach the history of art with fine examples from the fifteenth century onward (in the case of prints and drawings) and from the beginning of photography in 1839.

We are also able to teach about diverse cultures and artistic movements through a variety of techniques, from etching to lithography, from drypoint to silverpoint to conté crayon, from daguerreotype to C-print, with some of the finest examples to have been created within those media. Though works on paper are light sensitive and the colors, particularly red and yellow, somewhat fugitive, thus limiting the time they can be on view, this ensures that we rotate our collections frequently and have many opportunities to show the many jewels of our collection.

This spring, we would like to thank the members from the classes of 1943, 1948, 1958, 1963, and 1968 who, through their gifts, many of which are on display in this gallery, attest to their discerning eye and their much appreciated commitment to the Museum and its educational mission.