The Albany Institute of History & Art continues celebrating its 225th anniversary with the new exhibition, Masterworks: Paper, on view through October 16.
This exhibition showcases more than 150 rarely seen items from the Albany Institute’s library and museum collections that span more than three centuries. Sharing in common the medium of paper and close ties to Albany and the Capital Region, the objects in Masterworks: Paper illustrate diverse and eclectic themes, and tell stories that represent the personal and intimate as well as the historical and panoramic.
Much like a scrapbook, Masterworks: Paper is arranged in sixteen thematic sections filled with treasures in various media applied to or made with paper. The exhibition includes printed books and ephemera, watercolors, photographs, engravings, architectural drawings, pastels, maps, manuscripts, and letters and even some three-dimensional objects made of paper. The works on view colorfully illustrate topics ranging from people, places, and politics to water and weather, to fiction, farming, and families.
Masterworks: Paper includes drawings by the well-loved Albany artists Dorothy Lathrop, Walter Launt Palmer, Edward Lamson Henry, James Eights, and Will Hicok Low, and works by American masters including James Abbott McNeill Whistler, Thomas Hart Benton, Rockwell Kent, Ellsworth Kelly, and Jacob Lawrence. Hudson River School is represented by its masters Thomas Cole, Asher B. Durand, Jasper Cropsey, and William Hart. Regional contemporary art is featured in the exhibition with works by artists such as Richard Callner, Don Nice, Nancy Lawton, Harold Lohner, and Gayle Johnson.
Letters of special interest include a thank-you letter George Washington wrote in 1782 to Albany’s mayor, Abraham Ten Broeck and city officials following his first visit to Albany, and an 1804 letter from Thomas Jefferson to New York State’s Surveyor General, Simeon DeWitt.
Three-dimensional objects include a nineteenth-century Chinese “Fan of a Thousand Faces,” a cut-paper silhouette of Henry Hudson’s Half Moon made c. 1940-50 by Ugo Mochi, and examples of nineteenth-century bandboxes.
A selection of posters, interior sketches and renderings related to the New York Central System and the Delaware and Hudson Railway reflect the Albany Institute’s extensive railroad history collections.
Works from the eighteenth century include portraits of several Native American leaders of the time, including the Seneca chief Sagoyewatha, known as “Red Jacket,” who helped the British during the Revolutionary War; the Mohawk military and political leader Joseph Brant; and four leaders of the Iroquois Alliance who visited Queen Anne’s court in London in 1710 with a contingent of British military leaders to seek military assistance and Christian missionaries.
Each object in Masterworks: Paper tells a multi-layered story of its maker, its subject, its time, and its place. Together these works illustrate the richness of the Albany Institute’s collections, and offer many entry points to explore and discover the works themselves—and to appreciate the medium of paper, so ubiquitous, yet so often taken for granted.
Guided tours of Masterworks: Paper will be held on Friday, August 5 from 5 – 8 pm and on Thursday, August 18 at 6 pm. These tours are free and open to the public. Additional programming may be available this fall. Click here for more information.
The Albany Institute of History & Art is located at 125 Washington Avenue in Albany, New York. Free parking is available in the museum’s lot at the corner of Elk and Dove Streets.
The exhibition galleries, Museum Shop, and the new Crisan Café at the Albany Institute are open Wednesday 10 am – 5 pm, Thursday 10 am – 8 pm, Friday 10 am – 5 pm, Saturday 10 am – 5 pm, and Sunday noon – 5 pm. In addition, the café and museum shop are open Tuesdays from 10 am – 5 pm. The Research Library is open on Thursdays from 1 pm – 4:30 pm and by appointment.
Current admission rates are $10 for adults, $8 for seniors and students with ID, $6 for children aged 6-12, and free for children under 6. Albany Institute members are admitted for free. There is no charge to visit the café or museum shop. The museum offers free admission to the galleries on Thursdays from 5pm-8pm and on the First Fridays of the month from 5 pm -8 pm. In addition, in 2016 admission will be $2.25 on Saturdays as part of the museum’s 225 anniversary celebration. To learn about other discounts and free admission days, click here or call (518) 463-4478.
Founded in 1791, the Albany Institute of History & Art is New York’s oldest museum. Its collections document the Hudson Valley as a crossroads of culture, influencing the art and history of the region, the state, and the nation. Permanent and temporary exhibitions are open year-round. For more information, click here.