When the Addison Gallery of American Art opens its fall 2016 exhibitions in September, visitors will have an opportunity to explore decorative arts, textiles, sculpture, drawing, painting, and photography in four new exhibitions. Headlining the season, Making It Modern: The Folk Art Collection of Elie and Viola Nadelman, organized by the New-York Historical Society, opens on September 24 and runs through December 31. Widely recognized for his elegant and spare modernist sculpture, Elie Nadelman is less known for his pioneering interest in folk art. While he first started acquiring works after emigrating from Poland in 1914, his collecting started in earnest after his marriage to wealthy widow Viola Flannery in 1919. By 1924, the couple founded the Museum of Folk and Peasant Arts to house their burgeoning collection of American and European pieces, which numbered over 15,000 objects ranging from furniture, sculpture, paintings, ceramics, glass, iron, textiles, drawings and watercolors, and household tools. The core of their collection was purchased by the New-York Historical Society when the museum closed in 1937. This exhibition, the first to examine the Nadelmans’ seminal role in folk art collecting, will present approximately 100 objects displayed in groupings akin to those in their museum. Several examples of the artist’s sculpture will help to explore the influence of folk art on his oeuvre.
Unidentified French makers
Milliner’s heads (three), 1820–70
Red pine; painted papier-mâché; wood,
largest height: 17 in.
New-York Historical Society, Purchased from Elie Nadelman, INV.8708, INV.8709, and INV.8707
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