The Albany Institute of History & Art is currently exhibiting, Sixty Years and Still Collecting: Norman S. Rice. The exhibition includes highlights of the Albany Institute of History & Art’s remarkable collection of artwork, historical objects, and research materials assembled by Director Emeritus Norman S. Rice. He has served as the facilitator, and in some cases the actual donor, of many of the Institute’s greatest treasures.
Since his arrival in 1953 as curator, to the present day and his somewhat less demanding role as director emeritus, Rice has kept the Institute and Albany’s rich cultural history forefront in his thoughts and actions. In the exhibition Sixty Years and Still Collection: Norman S. Rice, a sample of Rice’s favorite objects is the focus of attention. Over 45 items are displayed and they demonstrate Rice’s passion for regional art and history, they showcase the wide variety of items Rice brought into the collection and they reveal the many ways Rice acquired objects for the Institute.
Items on display include a rare 1829 stoneware pounce pot by Troy potter Alexander Coplin, which Rice purchased for the Institute’s collections in the mid-1950s. There is also a spectacular 1817 mahogany card table made by cabinetmaker Charles-Honoré Lannuier that Rice saw in the home of Stephen Van Rensselaer Crosby, who later donated the piece to the Institute at Rice’s suggestion.
In addition, it has been through Rice’s guidance and scholarship that the Institute houses one of the leading collections of silver made or owned in the upper Hudson Valley. One of the pieces on display is an early 18th century brandywine bowl made by Albany silversmith Jacob C. Ten Eyck. Rice was able to purchase this distinctive ceremonial bowl in the 1960s after discussing its significance with an Institute patron who agreed to fund its acquisition over lunch and later referred to it as the most expensive lunch she had ever had.
Visitors can also see North Elba, David Coughtry’s first large-scale oil painting that Rice selected as the Albany Institute Purchase Prize at the 1984 Exhibition of the Artists of the Mohawk-Hudson Region, as well as a selection of photographs and albums that Rice has personally donated or intends to donate to the Institute.
Norman Rice will host a personal tour of the Sixty Years and Still Collecting exhibition on Thursday, August 15, 2013 at 6:00 PM. Tickets are $25/person and may be purchased by contacting Kate Pauly at the Albany Institute at (518) 463-4478 ext. 412. A reception will follow this special guided tour.
The Sixty Years and Still Collecting: Norman S. Rice exhibition will be displayed at the Albany Institute of History & Art, located at 125 Washington Avenue in Albany, New York until September 1, 2013.. The museum is open Wednesday-Saturday 10AM-5PM and Sunday Noon-5PM. On Tuesdays, the museum is open to registered groups only. The museum is closed on Mondays and major holidays. Admission is free for Institute members; $10/adults; $8/seniors and students with ID; $6/children 6-12; FREE/children under 6. For more information, visit www.albanyinstitute.org or call (518) 463-4478.
Photo: Norman S. Rice with a portrait of Engeltje Wendell in 1966.