MISSOULA – From maps and frontier landscapes to some of the earliest printed images of Native Americans, an upcoming exhibition at the University of Montana will reveal a century of imagery in the United States.
“Manus Festus: Selected Prints from the Meri Jaye Collection” will run Friday, Nov. 15, through Saturday, Dec. 14, in the Paxson Gallery, located in UM’s Performing Arts and Radio-Television Center.
The meaning of the Latin term “manus festus” has evolved over the centuries, but it originally meant “hand-struck.” Dr. Jeremy Canwell, curator of UM’s Montana Museum of Art and Culture, said the exhibition will draw upon recent gifts of 18th- and 19th-century prints to the University’s Permanent Collection, home to some 12,000 pieces of art.
“The exhibition documents the astonishing development of the printed image over some 120 years,” Canwell said. “It traces the variety of purposes printed imagery was made to serve.
These selected prints tell the story of a remarkable collection and a generous donor.”
He said the works are more than illustrations of colonialism – they arguably constitute the idea of Manifest Destiny, the philosophy that drove 19th-century territorial expansion in the United States.