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By Caitlin Podas, MMA Registrar

James Tooley, Jr. (1816 – 1844) Portrait of Thomas Sully, 1843. oil on ivory. Museum purchase, 2015.025

“Don’t judge a book by its cover.” A phrase we hear often, and that I try to remember when I’m shopping for my next read. I think this phrase can also be applied to artworks, perhaps with a slight tweak – “Don’t judge an artwork by its frame.” I’m afraid I’m guilty of doing just that. The museum recently acquired a miniature portrait by Mississippian James Tooley, Jr., now holding the distinction of being the oldest work in the collection created by a Mississippian of European descent. The sitter is a former teacher of Tooley’s and fellow portraitist Thomas Sully. It’s a perfectly nice portrait, and yes, miniatures can be very impressive (they usually show every little detail, even down to the sitter’s eyelashes, painted with excruciating precision using equally miniature brushes and magnifying glass) – but it’s just another portrait of, for lack of a better description, another old white guy. Or so I thought.

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Posted on Wednesday, May 6, 2015 by MMA

New Collectors Club - “Mid-Century Masterpieces: American Watercolors from the Collection”

The MMA New Collectors Club began in 2005 for Museum members who love art and want to learn to care for it. It is also for those who want to meet artists, see their studios and get sneak peaks at new work. The club also serves as a way to support new collectors by stimulating interest in contemporary art and involving both new and experienced collectors in the Museum. Today, club members continue to meet monthly at artists’ studios, collectors’ homes, or at the Museum for guided tours.

In the April meeting, members participated in a group tour of Mid-Century Masterpieces: American Watercolors from the Collection, 1920-1970 led by Chief Curator Roger Ward. Members experienced thirteen beautiful watercolor paintings rarely seen outside of the Museum’s vault, but are currently on display in The William B. and Isabel McCarty Foundation Gallery.

“The distinguished watercolors range in date from about the third quarter of the 19th century up to the present day,” commented Ward. He highlighted works from the first half of the 20th century, during the careers of Hull and...

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Posted on Tuesday, May 5, 2015 by MMA

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