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News Room

High Museum of Art Awarded $150,000 Grant from the Henry Luce Foundation to Digitize American Art Collection

November 18, 2014

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Funds will help establish comprehensive online database and make accessible 360-degree photography of the High’s American masterpieces

ATLANTA, Nov. 18, 2014 – The High Museum of Art has received a $150,000 grant from the Henry Luce Foundation to digitize the Museum’s American Art collection, allowing for greater access to the collection for the general public, scholars and researchers. The grant also enables the High to enhance existing digital access initiatives and make new strides in developing digital technology for an enriched visitor experience in the galleries, on mobile devices and on the web.

“As the leading art museum in the Southeast, the High strives to connect with a wide-ranging and diverse audience, and expanding digital access to the Museum’s collections is an important step toward that goal,” said Michael E. Shapiro, Nancy and Holcombe T. Green, Jr. director of the High. “We are very grateful to the Luce Foundation for their support of this initiative, and we look forward to offering our audiences richer and more varied ways to engage with our significant holdings of American Art.”

Approximately one-half of the funds will be used to secure photography for a significant number of the more than 1,100 objects in the American Art department, to include 360-degree photography of key works. The High will also dedicate funds toward integrating the photography and supporting content into a searchable online database and into future in-gallery and mobile interpretive platforms planned for a major reinstallation of the High’s permanent collection.

The High will begin photographing key works in the American Art collection in November 2014, with the goal of completing that portion of the project by early fall of 2015. Throughout the year, the High will also formulate a technology plan to integrate the new photography into www.high.org.

Key American Art works already identified for 360-degree photography as part of the initiative include Modernist sculptures by Theodore Roszak, Man Ray, Robert Laurent and Berta Margoulies as well as strengths from the neoclassical marble collections, including works by Harriet Hosmer, Edmonia Lewis, Randolph Rogers and Hiram Powers. The High will also take detailed photographs of collection masterworks by Romare Bearden, John Marin, Marsden Hartley, Milton Avery, George Inness, Francis Criss, Robert Henri, Martin Johnson Heade, John Singer Sargent, Joseph Rodefer DeCamp and Joseph Stella. Photography of selected period frames, including a hand-painted frame by John Marin, will also be a focus.

The Luce Foundation grant builds upon important groundwork established through the High’s recent digitization efforts. In 2013, the High invested in a digital asset management system that allows for the effective and flexible dissemination of content through online and multi-media channels. Earlier this year, the High began a pilot project to create 360-degree imagery of three-dimensional works of contemporary design in the Decorative Arts and Design collection, made possible through a grant from the Wish Foundation. The Luce Foundation grant funds help expand these efforts to include the High’s American Art collection, underscoring the High’s commitment to digitization and highlighting the rich history of art in the U.S.

About the American Art Collection
The High’s American Art department features more than 1,100 paintings, sculpture, drawings and prints spanning from the 1800s to the middle decades of the 20th century. A founding collection of the High, the American holdings include a core of works gifted by one of Atlanta’s first serious art collectors in the early 20th century, Atlanta businessman J.J. Haverty. Many works in this foundational gift remain important documents of the High’s institutional history and serve as collection keystones. Paintings bestowed by Haverty include late 19th-century works by Childe Hassam, William Merritt Chase, Henry Ossawa Tanner and John Henry Twachtman.

Collection strengths are in 19th-century landscape and genre painting as well as in sculpture. Recent acquisitions in the areas of still life, such as an early shell painting by the Philadelphia artist J.B. Ord and an allegorical painting by Benjamin West, have made important contributions to the American department’s antebellum and Early Republic-era holdings, which include portraits by John Singleton Copley and Gilbert Stuart.

A gift of 90 objects accessioned in 2010 included 41 neoclassical sculptures, establishing the High’s as among the top national collections in this area. Highlights include five monumental works by William Wetmore Story and groupings of iconic objects that represent the top of an artist’s production, such as Hiram Powers’ “Proserpine,” Randolph Rogers’ “Nydia the Blind Flower Girl of Pompeii” and Harriet Hosmer’s “The Sleeping Faun.”

Key works by John Singer Sargent, Lilla Cabot Perry, Cecilia Beaux, Edward Bannister, J. Alden Weir, Joseph Rodefer DeCamp, Robert Henri, George Luks, Joseph Stella, Marsden Hartley, Georgia O’Keeffe, Hale Woodruff, George L. K. Morris, Katherine Dreier, Milton Avery and Norman Lewis offer significant holdings in the late 19th and 20th centuries.

Works on paper include such highlights as two pastels by Mary Cassatt; watercolors by Maurice Prendergast, Edward Hopper, John Marin, Arshile Gorky and Andrew Wyeth; deep collections of prints by Childe Hassam and James McNeill Whistler; and drawings by a range of 19th- and 20th-century artists such as William Trost Richards, William Stanley Haseltine, Allan Crite, Elie Nadelman, Jan Matulka and Marion Greenwood.

In 2014, the High acquired the only known self-portrait by Southern-born artist Romare Bearden, “Profile/Part II, The Thirties: Artist with Painting and Model” (1981). This late-career collage strengthens the High’s contemporary American Art collection and joins the Museum’s robust holdings of works by artists from the southeastern U.S., an area of collecting to which the High remains dedicated as the leading art museum in the region.

About the Henry Luce Foundation
The Henry Luce Foundation was established in 1936 by Henry R. Luce, the co-founder and editor-in-chief of Time Inc., to honor his parents who were missionary educators in China. The Foundation builds upon the vision and values of the Luce family: broadening knowledge and encouraging the highest standards of service and leadership. The Foundation seeks to bring important ideas to the center of American life, strengthen international understanding, and foster innovation and leadership in academic, policy, religious and art communities. Since 1982, the Luce Foundation’s American Art Program has disseminated more than $150 million to museums, universities and service organizations in 48 states, the District of Columbia and internationally.

About the High Museum of Art
The High is the leading art museum in the southeastern U.S. With more than 14,000 works of art in its permanent collection, the High Museum of Art has an extensive anthology of 19th- and 20th-century American and decorative art; significant holdings of European paintings; a growing collection of African American art; and burgeoning collections of modern and contemporary art, photography, folk art and African art. The High is also dedicated to supporting and collecting works by Southern artists. For more information about the High, visit high.org.

About The Woodruff Arts Center
The Woodruff Arts Center is one of the largest arts centers in the world, home to the Alliance Theatre, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, the High Museum of Art and Arts for Learning. Each year, these arts organizations play host to over 1.2 million patrons at the Woodruff Arts Center’s Midtown Atlanta location, one of the only arts centers in the U.S. to host both visual and performing arts on a single campus. Through its work with educators and schools, the Woodruff Arts Center serves over 300,000 students annually and is the largest arts educator in Georgia.

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Media contact:

Marci Tate
Manager of Public Relations
High Museum of Art
Tel: 404-733-4585
E-mail: marci.tate@woodruffcenter.org