Great Art

The Speed Art Museum
  Traveling Exhibitions   Previous Exhibitions   Online Exhibitions   Selected Works on Loan

Paper Paths: 20th-Century Works on Paper from the Permanent Collection
August 17, 1999 — May 7, 2000

This exhibition features a selection of thirty prints, drawings, and watercolors from the Speed's permanent collection that date from the 1950s to the present day. Paper Paths examines various courses that artists have followed over the last half century – from adding new insights to the tradition of realism, to developing unique artistic vocabularies for expressing ideas and emotions, to testing the boundaries, definitions, and possibilities of abstraction. Artists represented in this exhibition include Larry Rivers, Jacob Lawrence, Audrey Flack, and Ellsworth Kelly.

Behind the Camera/Before the Lens: Black Americans and Photography
September 28, 1999 — February 27, 2000

This exhibition of 14 photographs features works dating from the 1860s to the 1990s, either by African-American photographers or depicting African-American subjects. The installation, including photographs by Gordon Parks, Garry Winogrand, and Nicholas Nixon, is located in the Lower Level Gallery outside of the Speed's Art Learning Center

The Ties That Bind: The Plight of Women in Victorian England
June 15 — December 12, 1999

This small focus exhibition highlights two early works by the renowned British painter Sir Edward Burne-Jones. The two paintings, previously considered lost, were discovered at Hanover College in Indiana in 1994. The works were recently featured in a retrospective of Burne-Jones' work at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Accompanied by works by James Jacques Joseph Tissot, Richard Redgrave, James Archer, and Simeon Solomon, this exhibition explores the theme of women in Victorian England.

A Birthday Party for Joe Louis, with Ethel Waters and Duke Ellington, c. 1938 Smith Family Collection

This exhibition surveys the lives, art and work of Harlem's premiere twin photographers and features nearly 150 of their photographs. The exhibition has been organized and is touring nationally under the auspices of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, the New York Public Library.

Morgan Smith, Robert Day playing Hi-Li, 1937 Morgan and Marvin Smith Collection Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture

Torah Crown, Berlin, 1854-60 Friedrich August Ferdinand Eisolt (active 1833-58), Silver: repousse and cast. The Jewish Museum, New York. Gift of Dr. Harry G.Friedman

An installation featuring thirteen objects on loan from The Jewish Museum in New York City. Showcasing objects such as a 19th-century silver Torah crown, the exhibition explores how the objects were used in the rituals and ceremonies associated with Jewish religious life. This installation is made possible by a grant from the Museum Loan Network.

Gaetano Pesce, Divan/Sofa, Tramonto a New York, 1980

This international exhibition explores the varying elements of 20th-century design. Tracing such themes as fantasy, ornament, and the use of the body as a design element, and comprising more than 200 objects from around the world, the exhibition presents the diverse aesthetics, beyond the realm of functionalism and rationalism, that have informed and defined modern design. The exhibition and its international tour are sponsored by Philip Morris Companies Inc. Philip Morris has provided additional support to the museum for the presentation in Louisville.

Recently, a collection of paintings was discovered that includes an unknown Thomas Hart Benton painting, representing a major discovery in American art.

The collection of 22 paintings, "America At Work, 1945: The Rediscovered Imperial Whisky Collection," will be shown to the public for the first time at The Speed Art Museum June 8 through July 15 in a special exhibition.

Hiram Walker, once one of the world's largest distilled spirits companies, shortly after WW II, commissioned a group of well-known American painters to portray scenes on canvas from its Peoria, Illinois distillery. These paintings were for an advertising campaign to promote its Imperial brand whisky during the Post-Prohibition period of the late 1940s. The Peoria distillery shut down in 1972.

Some time later, the 22 paintings in the collection moved to the Michigan offices of Allied Domecq, Hiram Walker's successor. In the shuffle of reorganization, the paintings got scattered throughout the many offices and storage closets at the company's headquarters in Southfield, Illinois. Their value remained unknown for more than half a century until Maker's Mark President Bill Samuels, Jr. discovered the collection and brought it to the attention of The Speed Art Museum's director, Peter Morrin, who confirmed the relevance of Samuels' find:"The collection is of major significance for several reasons: because of the importance of the artists included; because, miraculously, this collection of 22 works has been reassembled intact; because of unrecorded works by key artists; and, because of the insights the collection provides into the psyche of the nation at a crucial turning point in its history."

So, with the gracious help of Allied Domecq, Samuels reassembled the collection in its entirety and brought it to Kentucky, with the express desire to share it with the public and the art world for the first time."I guess my life-long hobby of crawling around dusty attics and damp basements looking for antique furniture finally paid off," Samuels said. "I am also very glad that the people at The Speed Art Museum confirmed that we discovered a Thomas Hart Benton previously unknown to the 'Bentonites.' This is a collection by artists that are regional to this area, and who illustrated Kentucky's first industry on canvas. I'm glad that we can share this collection with the public."

The collection includes a work from the leading American artist of that time, Thomas Hart Benton, who, Morrin says created Whisky Going to the Rick House to Age "in a style that reflects the compositional complexity of his public mural commissions. The painting is unusual in Benton's oeuvre in its careful delineation of industrial and architectural forms. Unrecorded and unknown, this painting alone justifies an exhibition: it is a major rediscovery in the artist's career." Benton is not the only artist of note in the Hiram Walker collection. Aaron Bohrod, the leading Chicago artist of the 1940s is included, as well as other important figures such as John S. DeMartelly, Ernest Fiene, Joseph Hirsch, and Paul Sample.

Stewardship, Scholarship, and a Passion for Art: The Legacy of Dillman A. and Nancy B. Rash
March 30 — June 9, 1999

An exhibition featuring six works recently bequeathed to the museum from the Nancy Batson Rash and Dillman A. Rash Collection. The exhibition features paintings and works on paper by Modernist masters Pablo Picasso, Marc Chagall, Jean Dubuffet, Paul Klee, Henri Matisse, and Maurice Utrillo.

The Body in Question: Tracing, Displacing, and Remaking the Figure in Contemporary Art
July 6 — August 22, 1999

Using a single part of the body or through an abstract image of the human figure, over 20 nationally-known contemporary artists address a wide range of issues - political, sexual, psychological, mythical, and aesthetic—all of which are grounded in the experience of the body. The paintings, sculptures, photographs, and mixed-media installations in this exhibition illuminate the depth and breadth of what it means to live, dream, and die in our skin and sinews and psyches today.


Copyright 2013
/ FAQ / Contact Us
2035 South Third Street Louisville, Kentucky 40208