Art Complex Museum

The Collection

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The scope of The Art Complex Museum’s permanent collection is rooted in the personal interests of museum co-founders, Carl A. Weyerhaeuser (1901-1996) and his wife, Edith Greenleaf Weyerhaeuser (1912-2000). The collection numbers more than eight thousand objects. Its major strengths are: American paintings; Shaker furniture and crafts; Asian art, encompassing paintings, ceramics and bronzes dating from as early as the thirteenth century BCE; and works on paper, the majority of which are American and European prints.

Carl Weyerhaeuser continued to take an active role in developing this collection throughout his life. In addition, a major acquisition from collectors Leland and Paula Wyman enhanced the already diverse holdings with over eighteen hundred objects and transformed them into a global collection. Weyerhaeuser heightened the collection with contemporary ceramics from important kiln sites in Japan. Many have been shared and documented through exhibitions and catalogues. The collection continues to grow in depth and scope through regular acquisitions, including contemporary work from regional artists.


AMERICAN PAINTING

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Jasper Francis Cropsey (1823-1900), A Sea View, Isle of Wright, 1890,oil on canvas, 80.153

Collecting American paintings was a venture in art appreciation for the Weyerhaeuser family. The fondness for collecting American paintings, fostered by museum co-founders Carl and Edith Weyerhaeuser, went back several generations. Frederick E. Weyerhaeuser, uncle of Carl, purchased George Inness’s Eventide-Tarpon Springs, Florida in 1916 from Vose Galleries. Charles Weyerhaeuser recalls that his father, Carl, tried to acquire paintings for each of the children, and it is apparent from some of his correspondence that a painting was purchased only if it was found generally pleasing to all.

inness bierstadt

Left: George Inness (1825-1894), Eventide-Tarpon Springs, Florida, 1916, oil on canvas, 2.32
Right: Albert Bierdstadt (1830-1902), Wreck on the Italian Coast, 1862, oil on canvas, 80.318


The collection was grown to encompass fine representations from influential developmental phases of American landscape painting, with a lesser amount from other genres. Among the holdings are works by; Hudson River School painters, Albert Bierstadt and Jasper Francis Cropsey; American Impressionists, Childe Hassam, Dennis Miller Bunker, and John Singer Sargent; as well as several paintings by George Bellows, a devoted second generation painter of The Aschcan School. Since its initial development by the Weyerhaeuser family, the American painting collection has grown to include additional areas of American painting including work by contemporary painters George Nick and Eric Aho.

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George Nick (b.1927), Maynard Spring, 2011, oil on canvas, 2012.03


SHAKER

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United States, Shaker Oval Boxes, maple and pine with stain and varnish, 20.18, 20.19


The collection of Shaker furniture and crafts at The Art Complex Museum is widely recognized among authorities for its fine examples of classic Shaker design. The initial interest in things Shaker came from Maud Moon Weyerhaeuser Sanborn, whose home in the Berkshires was close to the Hancock and New Lebanon Shaker communities. Mrs. Sanborn passed this enthusiasm on to her son Carl and his wife Edith, who recalls the first purchase of a Shaker rocking chair at Paine’s Furniture when her oldest son Charles was born in the 1940s. Although the original did not survive, another was acquired to complete the full range of sizes for the collection – 0 to 7, designed for the small child through large adults.

Shaker Rocker

United States, Shaker Child’s Rocker, size 0, maple and pine with original cloth-tape seat, 2007.34

Mrs. Sanborn became active with the restoration of Hancock Shaker Village through her friendship with its president, Amy Bess Miller. Carl’s mother asked him to promise to continue to look after Hancock Shaker Village; indeed he had, along with his son Charles, who has served loyally on its board of trustees for many years.

As Amy Bess Miller stated; It is rare that three generations in a family are so committed to the same enduring interest. Carl Weyerhaeuser’s desire to have a more intimate knowledge of Shaker craftsmen has enriched the history of this revered sect and brings us to a deeper understanding and empathy for an uncommonly industrious, practical and gifted people.

There are several works in the ACM’s collection that have been borrowed for important exhibitions and reproduced in definitive books on Shaker furniture and design. Outstanding among them is the Dwarf Tall Clock crafted by Benjamin Youngs, Sr. in Watervliet, New York, a Shaker community active from 1806 to 1910.

shaker clock

Benjamin Youngs, Sr. (1736-1818), Dwarf Tall Clock, 1814, cherry case, pine back, brass works and pendulum, lead weights, iron hands and dial, glass, 30.29

For more information, see the ACM’s Commemorative History and Highlights of the Collection at the Carl A. Weyerhaeuser Library.


ASIAN ART

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Kuncan (1612-1674), China, Monastery on a Mountain, 1663, Qing Dynasty, hanging scroll, ink and color on paper, 37.15

The Art Complex Museum is home to an outstanding collection of Asian art, encompassing ceramics, bronzes, brush paintings, prints, lacquerware and textiles. Much of its acquisition was influenced by Kojiro Tomita (1890-1976), Asian scholar and former longtime curator at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. A good friend to museum co-founders, Carl A. Weyerhaeuser and Edith Greenleaf Weyerhaeuser, Tomita was an important influence to the museum’s development. The following partial essay, written by guest curator William Thrasher for the 1990 exhibition, A Tribute to Tomita, was included in the catalogue of the exhibition:

When viewed as a part of the overall permanent collection at The Art Complex Museum, the Asian holdings reflect the awakening of new artistic interests among members of an American family, the Carl Weyerhaeusers . . .

The museum’s largest holdings are in the arts of India, China and Japan, with smaller components from Korea, Southeast Asia and Tibet. The majority of the Asian objects has come to the museum in the form of four separate collections. The first large group, including most of the Chinese paintings, bronzes and ceramics, early Japanese ceramics and the majority of the contemporary Japanese prints, is from the private collection of museum founders Carl and Edith Weyerhaeuser. The second major area — a diverse collection of ethnic and fine art, craft, iconography and manuscripts, assembled by Dr. Leland Wyman (1897-1988) and his wife, Paula Wyman (b.1897) was acquired in I968. Carl Weyerhaeuser assembled a third group of over two hundred and fifty pieces of twentieth-century Japanese ceramics in the early 1970s with the assistance of knowledgeable colleagues from the United States and Japan. The fourth is the result of the bequeathal of gifts throughout the museum’s history, from friends of the museum, with the largest bequest from Mr. and Mrs. Kojiro Tomita.

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Japan, Shofuan, 1975, tea hut, designed by Sano Gofu (1888-1977)

The Asian collection has continued to develop since the museum’s opening in 1971. The best known of the earlier acquisitions is Shofuan (Wind in Pines), the tea hut erected on museum grounds in 1975 and dedicated to the Tomitas in recognition of their efforts toward greater cultural understanding between the people of ]apan and America. A series of summer tea ceremonies is held at the tea hut each year.

For more information, see Tea Ceremony page.

hiroshige asian

Left: Chojiro Sasaki, (1516?–1592), Japan, Nokitsune, (Wild Fox), red clay with clear glaze (original raku ware), .001
Right: Sekino Jun’ ichiro (1914-1988), Japan, Kichiemon, The Kabuki Actor, 1947, woodblock print


Important paintings from China include a favorite of the Weyerhaeusers, Sun Zhi’s extensive handscroll, Mountain and River. It is inscribed by many scholars, friends, collectors and the Emperor Sizong. The meticulous brushwork and predominantly blue and green coloring refer to earlier Chinese landscape styles.

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Detail: Sun Zhi (active 1585-1601), China, Mountain and River, 1585, Ming Dynasty, handscroll, ink and colors on silk

Among several archaic bronzes is a Korean Ewer from the Koryo Dynasty (918-1392), which may have been a ritual container for holy water in Buddhist rituals. Buddhism was the predominant religion of this era.

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Korea, Ewer, 11th century, Koryo Dynasty, bronze

One recent Asian acquisition is a large porcelain bowl by a Japanese woman potter, Tokuda Yasokichi IV, fourth generation ceramic artist. Daughter of Tokuda Yasokichi III (1933-2009), one of the world’s most famous Kutani potters who was designated a Living National Treasure in 1997. Kutani ware is known for its vibrant colors: deep blue, yellow, green and purple, which contrast brilliantly with its white porcelain body. Yasokichi IV carries on the tradition of her father using yosai or vivid colored glaze on porcelain. The scale of both potters is too large to be appropriate for use in the tea ceremony, so decoration with traditional pictorial designs usually seen on conventional Kutani wares was avoided.

As we build our twenty-first-century Japanese ceramics collection, particularly with works fashioned from porcelain or created by woman artists, this impressive Suicho by a non-traditonal leader of a traditional potter’s family is a significant addition to the ACM collection.

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Tokuda Yasokichi IV (b. 1961), Japan, Bowl, “Suicho” (Crystalline Green), 2013, porcelain with vivid-color glaze (yosai)


WORKS ON PAPER

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Rembrandt van Rijn (1606-1669), The Descent from the Cross by Torchlight, 1654, etching and drypoint, ink on paper, 04.15


From an early interest in finely made books and book illustrations, Carl Weyerhaeuser developed an appreciation for a wider range of print techniques. The oft-quoted anecdote is that, upon graduation from Harvard, Carl turned down an expensive Packard for a more modest Dodge, so he could make his first print acquisition, an impression of Rembrandt’s etching, Descent from the Cross by Torchlight. The subsequent collection formed by Carl and Edith Weyerhaeuser encompasses a vast survey of prints from a variety of cultural origins, including many works that represent major movements within their medium.

The Weyerhaeuser’s collection provided a rich system from which the future collection would grow. While subject became less important and technique and materials increased in significance, the Weyerhaeusers appreciated and kept up with new developments. By becoming an ardent supporter of groups such as the Boston Printmakers and Full Tilt Print Studio, the museum has formed a varied collection of twentieth century prints representing a wide range of techniques.

ferry bellows

Left: Kawase Hasui (1883-1957), Ushibori Ferry, 1930-31, woodcut, ink on paper, 94.11
Right: George Bellows (1882-1925), A Stag at Sharkey’s, 1917, lithograph, ink on paper, 02.30


Collection strengths include, but are not limited to, work by sixteenth and seventeenth century masters, Dürer and Rembrandt; popular ukiyo-e Japanese woodblock artists, Hiroshige and Hokusai; modern Japanese woodblock prints from the movement known as sosaku hanga (creative print); American and European nineteenth and early twentieth century etchings, engravings, woodcuts, wood engravings, and lithographs; and contemporary prints in a variety of techniques. In addition to prints, the museum’s collection of works on paper also includes drawings and artist books.

The inherent mastery of techniques makes the works in the collection distinctive. The collection of works on paper has developed steadily, through both gifts and purchases, and continues to grow in both depth and scope. It is increasingly enriched by expanding upon contemporary holdings and supplementing pre-established areas of strength within the collection.

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The Art Complex Museum / 189 Alden Street / Box 2814 / Duxbury, MA 02331