Walters Art Gallery employees publish new book, win awards

Art: Two staff members at the museum bring credit to their names.

July 04, 2000|By Glenn McNatt | Glenn McNatt,SUN ART CRITIC

The Walters Art Gallery recently announced good news about two of its staffers, associate director and curator of 18th- and 19th-century art William R. Johnston and Joaneath Spicer, the James A. Murnaghan curator of Renaissance and Baroque art.

Johnston is the author of a new book, "Nineteenth Century Art: From Romanticism to Art Nouveau," showcasing the 19th- century paintings and sculpture purchased by William T. Walters and his son, Henry, which now form the museum's popular 19th-century collection.

The book details the Walters' encyclopedic collection, including paintings by the foremost masters of the Romantic era, J.A.D. Ingres and Eugene Delacroix, as well as landscapes by painters associated with the Barbizon School.

Johnston, who last year published a comprehensive biography of the Walters, father and son, has contributed his expertise to the museum for the past 34 years. His latest book, published by La Scala Publishers of London, provides readers with new insight into the Walters' unique collection of 19th-century art.

Spicer, whose show of small Dutch paintings delighted visitors to the Walters last summer, was recently the recipient of two prestigious awards.

The first was an appointment as the Samuel H. Kress Senior Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts, the research institute of the National Gallery of Art in Washington. During the fall semester 2000, Spicer will be continuing her investigation of what it meant to "draw from life," or naer het leven in Dutch, which was central to the most important tendencies in early 17th-century Dutch art.

The second award Spicer received was a J. Paul Getty Curatorial Research Fellowship to support work on completing a monograph of the 17th-century Dutch artist Roelandt Saverij. Spicer plans to use that grant to travel next year to see key drawings and paintings in European collections.

Spicer is a specialist in Dutch art and an expert on Saverij. She organized the acclaimed 1997-1998 exhibition, "Masters of Light: Dutch Painters in Utrecht During the Golden Age."

Other exhibitions conceived and curated by Spicer include "A Renaissance Puzzle: Heemskerck's `Abduction of Helen' " in 1993, "The Allure of Bronze: Masterpieces from the Walters Art Gallery" in 1995 and "Bernardo Strozzi: Master Paintings of the Italian Baroque" in 1995.

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