Akeley Lecture, Una Herencia Mexicana

LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Ellen E. Fisher, Director of the Littleton Collection, will present the Akeley Lecture, Una Herencia Mexicana, at the Art Museum of Greater Lafayette, on August 26 at 7:00 pm. Fischer’s lecture will focus on an overview of the Akeley Collection, with specific emphasis on the artist (Leonora Carrington, 1917 -) a British born Mexican Surrealist. The Art Museum’s painting, The Annunciation, by Carrington, was acquired by Anna and Edward Akeley and selected by Fischer as a gift from the Akeleys for the art museum’s permanent collection. Ms. Fisher will also include a discussion of works by the artist, Gunther Gerszo, as well as Remedios Varo, the Spanish-Mexican Surrealist painter and will conclude with time for Q & A from participants.

The Akeley Lecture is funded by gifts from the late Anna and Edward Stowe Akeley, both members of the Physics Department at Purdue University. Edward spent his retirement years teaching Physics in Mexico City and collected the works of Modern Mexican artists including Diego Rivera, Rufino Tamayo, Carlos Merida, Jose Clemente Orozco, Raul Anguiano, Roberto Montenegro, Gunther Gerzo and Leonora Carrington.

The Akeley Lecture is free and open to the Public. Community residents, high school, college and university students are welcome.

Una Herencia Mexicana is the focus of a keystone exhibition of Mexican Heritage works by Mexican Modernist Artists, drawn from the permanent collections of Purdue Galleries and The Art Museum of Greater Lafayette. The show is sponsored by Eli Lilly, Tippecanoe Labs and the Purdue University Latino Culture Center and was curated by Michael Atwell, Curator of Exhibitions, Wabash College and Craig Martin, Director of Purdue University Galleries. The exhibition runs through August 29.

Fisher received her BFA from the Herron School of Art, studying with Richard Emery Nickolson, and received her MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She served as the Curator at the Art Museum of Greater Lafayette from 1987-1997, before moving to Vero Beach, Florida. She served as Curator of Collections and Exhibitions at the Vero Beach Museum of Art, where she curated an exhibition of Modern and Contemporary Mexican Art from the Prensky Collection, which was later donated to the Naples, Fla. Museum of Art.

She currently serves as Director of the Littleton Collection and Gallery in Fort Pierce, Florida. The gallery is the creation of Harvey K. Littleton, the renowned glass artist, who has been called the father of the American studio glass movement. The Littleton Collection specializes in art glass. The artists whose work is represented includes Harvey Littleton’s former student, Dale Chihuly, as well as works by Rick Beck, Ken Carder, Kyohei Fujita, Pavel Hlava, Robert Levin, Joel Philip Myers, Stephen Powell, Mary Shaffer, Therman Statom and Yan Zoritchak. Works by Harvey Littleton and by the artistic team of John Littleton and Kate Vogel are also shown.

While working at the Littleton Collection, Fischer is also a free-lance writer for the Vero Beach Magazine, specializing in feature articles on art and artists.

Fischer writes “Leonora Carrington was never a Surrealist. At least, that’s what she says now. Born in England in 1917 to a wealthy industrialist and his wife, she was sent from the age of nine to a succession of private Catholic boarding schools where she was expelled from one after the other. She was not interested in school and couldn’t have cared less about pleasing her teachers, or going along to get along. She was headstrong, self-assured, and imaginative. Her insistence on writing backwards, from right to left, drove the nuns crazy. Inevitably, she would be returned to her parents with the verdict that she was ineducable. Her exasperated parents finally sent her to Miss Penrose’s school in Florence, where she stayed for about a year. While she thought the subjects taught there were as useless as those at any of the other schools, she was in Florence after all, and she soaked up the Renaissance art that she saw there and on trips to Padua, Venice and Rome. After a stint at finishing school, she was presented at the court of George V. The next step for a young lady of good social standing would have been marriage to a suitably well-off young gentleman, but Leonora had other plans. Against her parent’s wishes she went to London to study art . . .

Leonora was influenced neither by the style nor the indigenous subject matter of the Mexican artists she met; she continued to develop her own vision based in European painting, myth and alchemy. But Mexico itself influenced her artistic outlook by way of its outdoor markets where, alongside a plethora of foodstuffs and ordinary household goods, wondrous things were sold – including mysterious potions and charms guaranteed by their hawkers to cure ills both physical and spiritual. She was fascinated by the curanderos, healers who mixed herbal knowledge with indigenous Mexican folk magic and Spanish Catholicism. Although she did not embrace Mexican art in her work, by 1964 Mexico had embraced Carrington as a Mexican artist with the inclusion of her work an exhibition of contemporary Mexican art in Mexico City’s National Museum of Modern Art.

Because she did not expect her work to be appreciated by an audience beyond her small group of sympathetic friends, Leonora Carrington has always painted for herself. But in 1948, the year after she painted St. Anthony, she had a solo show at the Pierre Matisse Gallery in New York that was reviewed in Time Magazine and Art News. Her first one-person show in Mexico, in 1950, received raves in the Mexican press and opened the way to her wide appreciation there.”

Art Museum of Greater Lafayette
102 South Tenth Street, Lafayette, IN
Admission is FREE
Gallery Hours – Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 4. pm.
Phone: 765-742-1128

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 September 2020