Great Art

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

Past Exhibitions of 2009

Annunciation to the Shepherds, from Book of Hours, about 1430-40, ink, tempera, gold, and silver on parchment
French, Besançon.
Gift of David and Betty Jones 2008.4

A Book of Prayers: The Medieval Bestseller

Opens October 11, 2009 – February 14, 2010

This fall the Speed Art Museum will present an exhibition celebrating a new medieval masterpiece in its collection.  A Book of Prayers:  The Medieval Bestseller highlights a remarkable fifteenth-century Book of Hours generously donated to the museum by David and Betty Jones in 2008. Books of Hours were the most popular books of the Middle Ages. They contain prayers and texts honoring the Virgin Mary and other saints, and were used by ordinary men and women to guide their private devotions. The Speed’s Book of Hours represents late medieval painting at its best. It includes sixteen beautifully rendered miniatures, including scenes from the life of Jesus, Mary, and King David, as well as other religious subjects, and every page is meticulously decorated with painted flowers or birds and curling ivy vines accented in gold leaf. An exciting new computer interactive will allow museum visitors to explore the Book of Hours in depth in the galleries and online through the Speed’s website. Other devotional books from regional collections will also be on view.
Cork-n-bottle 2009, archival pigment print, Sarah Lyon (American, b. 1978)
What Would the Community Think?

November 25, 2009 to March 1, 2010
What Would the Community Think? is an exhibition that invites a personal opinion and an exploration of the invisible boundaries between art and its audience as well as the definition of community. Artists that are both established and emerging alike are represented in a variety of media including painting, photography, and sculpture. The way in which artists have incorporated or engaged with their community in creating their art has long been the topic of study for art historians, writers and critics. The idea of community is vast and constantly evolving, made evident in this exhibition.
This exhibition includes recent acquisitions from artists including John Ahearn and Rigoberto Torres, whose work focuses on creating cast sculptures of people in their community. In using community members as models, the work offers an interjection and a renewal to sculptural portraiture, a realm traditionally reserved solely for the historical and famous. Newly acquired works of Louisville photographer, Sarah Lyon, will also be on view. Lyon’s photographic subjects are dependent on chance and action as she captures spontaneous glimpses into the community that surrounds her. Also included are works by Vito Acconci, Ghada Amer, Edward Kienholz and Nancy Kienholz, Larry Clark, Barbara Kruger, and Dinh Q. Lê. Admission is free.
Passion Flowers, 1917, oil on Canvas,
Charles Caryl Coleman (American, 1840 – 1928).
Gift of Mrs. Hattie Bishop Speed
Frame conservation funded by The Alliance of The Speed Art Museum, 1999, 1942.351
Hattie Bishop Speed: Founder and Collector

November 15, 2009 – March 7, 201
Hattie Bishop Speed founded the Speed Art Museum in 1927 as a memorial to her husband, Louisville businessman and industrialist James Breckinridge Speed. Less well known is her pivotal role in establishing and shaping the museum’s early collection. After her husband’s death in 1912, Mrs. Speed began adding to her husband’s collection of paintings and sculptures to form what would become the core of the museum’s holdings. As the museum’s first director until her death in 1942, she continued to build the collection, often by inspiring others to donate art to the fledgling museum. This exhibition tells the story of how Hattie Bishop Speed created a lasting artistic legacy for Louisville through the works of art she was instrumental in acquiring for the museum. Admission is free.

Hattie Bishop Speed: A New Museum for Louisville

September 1, 2009 – March 14, 2010

This exhibition of vintage photographs documenting the construction of  architect Arthur Loomis’ building  vividly captures Hattie Bishop Speed’s vision for the new art museum.  Classic in its use of traditional materials, yet modern in its incorporation of cutting-edge technology, the creation of the Speed Art Museum was a major event in the history of Louisville and the Commonwealth of Kentucky when it opened in 1927.

Mrs. Speed and Mr. Loomis would undoubtedly be very proud if they could see what the Speed Art Museum has become since its founding.  With the annual number of visitors each year surpassing 100,000, and in some years nearly twice that number, the Speed Museum is dramatically different than it was in its early years.  Mrs. Speed would be stunned to know that her initial gift of art has grown to nearly 14,000 works of art. And while they had education in mind, they never anticipated the museum would provide core art experiences for over 15,000 K-12 students per year, countless families, and thousands of adult learners, in addition to supporting a large program in studio art and art history at the University that did not even exist when the museum was founded. And certainly neither Speed nor Loomis would believe that as many as 5,000 University of Louisville students walk by the museum on their way to classes each day.

As the museum’s prepares for a major expansion and renovation project, this exhibition celebrates Hattie Bishop Speed’s vision for the museum and the many visitors who enjoy it each year.

Young Man Playing a Cello, about 1910, oil on canvas,
Jo Koster (Dutch, 1869 – 1944)
Gift of generous donors, by exchange, 2008.21

European and American Art,1800-1960
Opens October 11, 2009 

The impact of European colonization in the New World will be seen in a suite of galleries devoted to art from colonial America and Kentucky.  Art from early Kentucky is a major growth area for the Speed’s collection and featured will be new gifts of beautiful Kentucky-made furniture from the Bob and Norma Noe Collection, as well as exceptional silver objects on loan from a local private collector. 

Moving through the 19th century, galleries will be devoted to key themes like “Landscape Painting in Europe and America” and “The Feminine Ideal”.   Decorative arts, including glass, furniture, ceramics, and metalwork will have its own gallery, while works by Claude Monet, Paul Cezanne, Constantine Brancusi, and Hans Arp will be the cornerstones of individual galleries devoted to the modern art movements of Impressionism, Post-Impressionism, Expressionism, and Surrealism respectively.  However, while old favorites can be seen in this reinstallation, visitors will also experience a significant number of artworks on loan from private collections and several major new museum acquisitions like Jo Koster’s radiant masterwork, Young Man Playing the Cello from about 1915.
A Cat Protecting Spoils from a Dog, 1717, oil on canvas,
 Dirk Valckenburg (Dutch, 1675-1721).
Museum purchase with funds from the estate of Alice Speed Stoll and anonymous donors 2005.18
Painting in Europe, 1600-1800
Opens October 11, 2009 – January 24, 2009
This fall the Speed’s galleries will feature the collection as never before.  New paint, new art, and a new layout of over 10,000 sq. ft of galleries will make works look fresh and engaging, while objects never seen before add a sense of surprise and delight to the composition.

In the lower galleries, the exhibition Painting in Europe will feature art spanning the two hundred years between 1600 and 1800. The opening galleries highlight great religious painting from Italy, Flanders, and the Netherlands.  A central gallery will be devoted to “Patrons of the Arts” as depicted in portraits of artists, businessmen, actresses, and royalty, including a sumptuous portrait of an English noble woman from about 1635 by Anthony van Dyck.  Other galleries will emphasize the rise of landscape painting in Europe and the Dutch fascination with images of daily life, still lifes, and animal painting. 
Garry Winogrand (American, 1928-1984)
Histrionics on Bench from the series Women are Beautiful, 1975
Gelatin Silver Print
Gift of Henry V. Heuser, Jr.

City/Country: Photographs from the Henry V. Heuser, Jr. Collection

June 7, 2009 – October 11, 2009

Since his youth, Louisville businessman and philanthropist Henry V. Heuser, Jr. has loved art and has evolved into an ardent collector. Beginning in the 1970’s, Heuser became especially interested in the work of contemporary American photographers and through the years has built a collection containing hundreds of photographic works. This celebration of Heuser’s achievement as a collector and museum supporter, will feature work by some of the country’s most important photographers, including Harry Callahan, Ralph Eugene Meatyard, Ray Metzker, Aaron Siskind, and Garry Winogrand.

Nicola Marschall (American, 1829-1917)
After: Matthew Henry Wilson (American, 1814-1892)
Abraham Lincoln, 19th century
Oil on canvas
Gift of Mrs. Hattie Bishop Speed
Conservation funded by The Alliance of The Speed Art Museum, 1999

Beyond the Log Cabin
Kentucky’s Abraham Lincoln

June 28 – September 6, 2009

Through engaging imagery, artifacts, portraits, hands-on activities and Lincoln’s own words, this exhibition presents the untold story of Lincoln’s lifelong engagement with Kentucky and Kentuckians – an engagement that shaped his life, helped pave the way for his political rise, and during the Civil War, kept Kentucky in the Union.

This exhibition has been organized by the Kentucky Historical Society. Exhibition support has been provided by the James Graham Brown Foundation. 


Ed Hamilton (American, born 1947)
Model, Abraham Lincoln

Ed Hamilton’s Lincoln

June 28- September 6, 2009

In conjunction with the nation-wide celebration of Abraham Lincoln’s Bicentennial, this exhibition will take you on Louisville artist Ed Hamilton’s artistic journey to create the Louisville Waterfront Park Lincoln Memorial. The memorial features a young Abraham Lincoln seated on a large rock reading a book. The exhibition will feature early clay sculptures of the piece, a 15-inch plaster model of the memorial, drawings and the 12-foot foam model of the Lincoln sculpture as well as early sketches of the panels of bas-relief sculptures depicting scenes from Lincoln’s extraordinary life.

After a design by James Wyatt (English, 1746-1813), Covered Jug, 1775-76, silver, made by Boulton and Fothergill, Soho, Birmingham, England, Gift from James C. Codell, Jr. Collection, 1993.9.156

English Silver in the Age of Matthew Boulton:  The James C. Codell, Jr. Collection

April 12 – August 2, 2009

Over the span of 30 years James C. Codell, Jr. of Winchester, Kentucky, collected the work of innovative English industrialist Matthew Boulton.  Mr. Codell’s foresight created one of the world’s great collections of silver, silver-plate, and other metalwork produced by Bolton’s firm between the 1760’s and the 1820’s.  From richly guided candelabra to sparkling silver tureens, this exhibition captures the elegance of the English table during the late 18th and 18th centuries. This collection was generously given to The Speed Art Museum so that others might enjoy the artistry of Boulton’s creations.

4 Salvaged Boxes, Courtesy of wHY Architecture

4 Salvaged Boxes
wHY Architecture

April 12 – June 14, 2009

This exhibition documents the approach wHY Architecture, design architect for the Speed expansion and renovation, applies toward quality design and environmental sustainability.  4 Salvaged Boxes was created from materials salvaged from the construction of the Grand Rapids Art Museum. When closed, the boxes function as their own traveling crates, protecting their inner contents.  Once open, the boxes unfold to reveal their materials and information about the sustainable design features that the Speed hopes to incorporate into its expansion plans.

Lynda Benglis (American, born 1941), Gestural Study, 2005, egg tempera on off-white wove paper, The Speed Art Museum, The Dorothy and Herbert Vogel Collection: Fifty Works for Fifty States, a joint initiative of the Trustees of the Dorothy and Herbert Vogel Collection and the National Gallery of Art, with generous support of the National Endowment for the Arts and the Institute of Museum and Library Services, 2008.15.6

The Dorothy and Herbert Vogel Collection
Fifty Works for Fifty States
 March 22, 2009 - May 17, 2009

Their story is as important as their collection. Dorothy was a librarian, Herbert was a postal worker and together they built one of the most impressive collections of contemporary art ever created.  The New York Collectors along with the National Gallery of Art, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Institute of Library Services have launched a national gift program titled The Dorothy and Herbert Vogel Collection: Fifty Works for Fifty States to celebrate their efforts. As the honored recipient of fifty works for the Commonwealth of Kentucky, the Speed Art Museum is honored to present this extraordinary gift in one exhibition, presenting works from 25 important contemporary artist including Pat Steir, Robert Barry, Steve Keister, and Richard Tuttle. Admission is free.

Thomas Sully (American, 1783-1872)
The Walsh Sisters, 1834-35
Oil on canvas
Bequest from the Preston Pope Satterwhite Collection 1949.30.305

American Art at the Speed

July 18, 2008 - May 2009

This exhibition features paintings, works on paper, photographs, sculpture, and decorative arts from the museum’s American and Kentucky collections.  Mirroring the historical scope of Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness: American Art from the Yale University Art Gallery exhibition, often with a fascinating regional perspective, the exhibition highlights works by John James Audubon, Asa Blanchard, Matthew Harris Jouett, Gideon Shyrock, and Rookwood Pottery, as well as James Peale, Thomas Sully, Elihu Vedder, Frederic Remington, and others.  A number of the works in the Speed’s companion exhibition are by artists also represented in Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness and thus offer a unique complement to Yale’s collection.  Admission is free. 


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