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"Hannelore Baron: Works from 1967 to 1987"
2002-02-12 until 2002-03-14
University of Richmond Museums, Marsh Gallery
Richmond, VA, USA United States of America

align=right> Collages and box assemblages created by Hannelore Baron (American, 1926-1987) are the focus of this exhibition organized by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES). Using materials that felt familiar from use-scraps of fabric, wood, string, wire, pieces from children's games, printed labels and other discarded items-Baron constructed intimately scaled works that offer glimpses into history, the human condition, and the artist's past.

It is her work's fragility, both physical and spiritual-the sense of quiet, private anguish expressed through forlorn materials and cryptic, edgy scrawls-that has often been cited as the defining characteristic of Baron's art.
- Michael Kimmelman, exhibition review, The New York Times, October 1, 1993

The Marsh Art Gallery, University of Richmond Museums, will be the premie venue on this eight-city national tour which extends through March 2004. Approximately 40 collages and five box assemblages are presented along with quotes from Baron regarding her artistic inspirations and creative processes.

In her struggles with depression, with cancer, and with memories of the Holocaust, Baron found more than solace in her art. She found a fountain of creativity with which she could explore feelings and ideas that words could not express. She gathered artistic inspiration not only from her own past and existential beliefs but also from contemporary events such as the Vietnam War and from other artistic sources such as Native American, African, and Tantric art, illuminated pages of the Koran, and Persian miniatures.

The materials I use in the box constructions and cloth collages are gathered with great care, said Baron. The reason I use old cloth and boxes is that the new material lacks the sentiment of the old, and seems too dry in an emotional sense.

Born in 1926 in Dillingen, Germany, Baron has become known for the highly personal, intimately sized abstract collages and box constructions that she began exhibiting in the late 1960s. Her works from this time through 1987 (the year of her death) garnered her a reputation as a master of the collage medium. During her life, the ideas expressed in her work grew more complex, introspective and personal; while at the same time they communicated a universal message about nationalism, war, and cruelty.

Baron's style has been favorably compared with several other Modern masters. In her review for ARTnews of an exhibition of Baron's work at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in 1989, critic Barbara A. MacAdam wrote, Klee's earth tones and signs, Matisse's blue, the intimate collaging of Kurt Schwitters, and Joseph Cornell's boxes are all acknowledged, then personalized. Throughout there is a sense of unity-of opposites, of the living and the manmade, of the natural and the designed.

Although she exhibited little during her lifetime, Baron's work can now be found in numerous museum collections, including the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, and the Israel Museum in Jerusalem.

Hannelore Baron: Works from 1969 to 1987 is organized and circulated by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES) in cooperation with the Estate of Hannelore Baron and the Manny Silverman Gallery in Los Angeles. The exhibition is curated by independent art historian Ingrid Schaffner, who is also senior curator at the Institute for Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania, in Philadelphia.

The exhibition is accompanied by an 74-page, full-color catalogue featuring an essay by the curator. The catalogue has been made possible through the generous support of The Judith Rothschild Foundation, Ruth and Robert Halperin, Ruth and Barney O'Hara, The Jamie and Steve Tisch Foundation, Mary Mhoon, and The Howard Earl Rachofsky Foundation. The catalogue is available at the University of Richmond Museums.

Hannelore Baron (American, 1926-1987).
Torn Flag, 1977,
wood, cloth, ink, tempera, and paper on wooden box with hinged lid
9 3/4 x 13 1/2 x 12 3/8 inches
Estate of the artist, courtesy the
Manny Silverman Gallery, Los Angeles.
Copyright Estate of the artist.

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