May 12, 2018 – January 3, 2021
May 12, 2018 – January 3, 2021Exhibitions are free with admission.
In celebration of its 70th anniversary, the museum will reinstall some of the best works from its 15,000-object collection, more than doubling the space in this building and in the Wyeth Center for this purpose. The heart of any museum lies in its collection, and this is especially true at the Farnsworth. Among its holdings are more than 1,000 paintings, 2,500 prints, 500 watercolors, 600 drawings, 1,600 photographs, 250 sculptures, and a wide range of other objects, including some 1,500 in the Farnsworth Homestead. As is the case in most museums, only a small proportion of these holdings are on view at any one time, in part for preservation reasons.
The museum’s collection began with those that were in the Homestead, the Farnsworth family’s 1850 home. Its growth initially came from occasional purchases of artworks with limited acquisition funds., More importantly, the vast majority of acquisitions have come as gifts and bequests from thousands of generous donors. Early on the Farnsworth decided to focus on works by artists who have lived and/or worked in Maine, and through both its collection and exhibition activities the museum continues in its mission to celebrate Maine’s role in American art.
That role is a vital one. From the early nineteenth century on, some of America’s most talented artists came to Maine, discovering attractive subject matter in its natural wonders as well as in the people who lived there. Many of these artists, most of whom spent their time in New York and other urban art centers, were also drawn to Maine as a summer getaway, and as a place to enjoy a simpler way of life. These things continue to draw artists to Maine, both to live and to work.
The works in this presentation represent the diversity of the Farnsworth collection – with works spanning more than two centuries – as well as the inventiveness of the artists who have found Maine an inspiration for their work. During your visit you may also want to stop in at the Wyeth Center, on whose second floor gallery is the exhibition The Wyeths: Family and Friends, also drawn from the museum’s collection.