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"Lasting Impressions: Contemporary Prints from the Bruce Brown Collection"
2000-04-05 until 2000-06-04
Portland Museum of Art
Portland, ME, USA United States of America

Lasting Impressions: Contemporary Prints from the Bruce Brown Collection celebrates the extraordinary collection of Portland native Bruce Brown, who has been a strong presence in the Maine art scene for more than 20 years. Featuring more than 80 prints in all media (about 50% of Brown's print collection), this is the first major exhibition of Brown's collection in his home city. Lasting Impressions will be on view at the Portland Museum of Art from April 5 through June 4, 2000.

As a teacher at Freeport High School and Curator of Maine Coast Artists in Rockport, Brown has educated many people about art and has also assembled a phenomenal collection of contemporary prints on a limited budget. Brown began collecting in the mid-1970s when he began to recognize the great emotional and intellectual impact the visual arts had in his life, as well as the desire to live day-to-day with objects that sparked that response. During the course of more than 20 years, Brown's energies have embraced many artistic disciplines, including contemporary painting, sculpture, drawing, and photography, but none have held his attention more fully than contemporary printmaking, which he began to acquire in earnest in 1987.

In the beginning, Brown primarily collected works from artists living in Maine, with the intention of focusing his collection on local art. As he studied and learned more, however, he found this limiting, and he began to collect prints from all over the country and the world. One of the strengths of the Bruce Brown Collection is that it places the work of local and internationally-known artists in close proximity, to the detriment of neither. He seeks the best, the most innovative, and the most representative in contemporary printmaking, filtered through the lens of his unique sensibility. Over the years, Brown has refined his collection and collecting habits to suit his desire to represent a microcosm of printmaking from the past 50 years.

The Bruce Brown Collection includes major graphic works of art by Georg Baselitz, Brett Bigbee, Louise Bourgeois, John Cage, Louisa Chase, Chuck Close, Jim Dine, Anne Harris, Charles Hewitt, Alison Hildreth, David Hockney, Alex Katz, Ellsworth Kelly, William Kentridge, Sol Lewitt, Elizabeth Murray, Bruce Nauman, Robert Rauschenberg, Karl Schrag, Kiki Smith, Neil Welliver, Mark Wethli, and Terry Winters, among others.

The exhibition also celebrates Brown's intention to give or bequeath portions of his print collection to the Portland Museum of Art. According to the Museum's Director, Daniel E. O'Leary: This extraordinary act represents a gift to Portland and demonstrates Bruce Brown's devotion to art education in the state of Maine. Such a gift would instantly transform the Museum's print collection, and allow us greater opportunities to explore the rich traditions of contemporary printmaking.

The exhibition is accompanied by a 72-page illustrated catalogue that features reminiscences on collecting by Bruce Brown and catalogue entries by Aprile Gallant, the Museum's Curator of Prints, Drawings, and Photographs.


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