MISSOULA – Two elaborate, historical tapestries will be on display at the University of Montana for the first time since they were donated to the Montana Museum of Art & Culture in 1958. The MMAC will present the larger-than-life works of art from 7 to 8 p.m. at a one-night-only viewing event Thursday, March 19, in the Masquer Theatre of the Performing Arts and Radio/Television Center at UM.
MMAC Director Barbara Koostra and Curator of Art Brandon Reintjes will be on hand to discuss the tapestries, the MMAC Permanent Collection and the museum’s 120th anniversary. “Art of the State: Celebrating 120 Years of the MMAC Permanent Collection” will be open during this viewing as well in the Meloy and Paxson Galleries.
While the MMAC touts 120 objects from its permanent collection in the exhibition catalog “Art of the State: Celebrating 120 Years of the MMAC Permanent Collection” for its 120th anniversary, curators couldn’t fit all the objects into its galleries at once. Two of the omitted objects are outdoor public pieces of art that are permanently installed on campus, and two are the large-scale tapestries.
Tapestries, which are paintings made of dyed wool and silk woven to create elaborate scenes, also are an age-old way of livening up a cold, drafty room. The two tapestries, donated in 1958 by Josephine Paul Bay through Hammer Galleries in New York City, are important components of the museum’s nearly 11,000-object Permanent Collection.
The Flemish tapestry called “The Bagpipe Player” shows a peasant scene. It depicts a painting by David Teniers II (1610-1690) and was woven by the esteemed Leyniers workshop, which was active from 1712 to 1734. The second tapestry is also Flemish, woven in the late medieval or Gothic style from about 1540 to 1560. Less is known about this tapestry because of its age and construction. Art historians believe it also could be an older tapestry surrounded by newer construction.
The gallery exhibition continues through May 23 in the Paxson and Meloy galleries of the PAR/TV Center. A full schedule of other programs planned throughout the exhibition can be found online at http://www.umt.edu/montanamuseum/exeventsschedule/calendar.aspx.
The MMAC is committed to making its Permanent Collection an important resource not only for UM, but also for the people of the state and the region.
The academic-year gallery hours are noon-3 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday, and noon-6 p.m. Thursday and Friday. The museum is open to the public with a suggested $5 donation. For more information call 406-243-2019 or visit http://www.umt.edu/montanamuseum.