As a Penn undergraduate, one of my favorite places on campus to take a study break, and get a dose of culture in the process, was the Arthur Ross Gallery. Nestled inside Frank Furness’s castle-like Fisher Fine Arts Library, the Arthur Ross Gallery is a one-room gallery (kunsthalle). Though unimposing in size, the gallery displays exhibitions of monumental significance. On Saturday, July 19, 2014, the Arthur Ross Gallery will unveil its newest exhibition, Shared Vision: The Myron A. and Anne Jaffe Portenar Collection, to the public. This exhibition will display sixty-three of the over 800 works donated by the Portenars to Penn.
With so many incredible prints, paintings, sculptures, photographs, and works on paper to choose from, how did co-curators Lynn Marsden-Atlass and Heather Gibson Moqtaderi make their selections? University Art Collections Manager Heather Gibson Moqtaderi explains that each piece was selected for its significance within the history of twentieth-century art, as well as its importance to the Portenars themselves. One obvious choice to be included was Stuart Davis’s Study for Egg Beater No. 3. (1927), which has been critical to the study of early twentieth-century abstraction, and its purchase was one of the Portenars’ proudest accomplishments in collecting. Adds Moqtaderi, “Anne Portenar was also especially fond of the artist Susan Rothenberg and so including one of Rothenberg’s prints was a given. We selected Head and Bones because it resembles the head and bones of a horse, which is one of Rothenberg’s primary motifs, and Anne is especially fond of Rothenberg’s horses.”