An exhibit from the Tate Museum in London will travel to the Delaware Art Museum in October 2023.
It’s a major get for the Wilmington institution, which will be the exhibit’s only stop in the United States.
The Tate show “The Rossettis” will focus on the family of British Pre-Raphaelite painter Dante Gabriel Rossetti and will feature several pieces from the Delaware museum’s collection of Pre-Raphaelite Art.
The show will run in London at Tate Britain from April 6 to Sept. 24. It will then travel to Delaware, where it will end the Delaware Museum’s Year of Pre-Raphaelites, which has just begun.
The Delaware museum’s new Pre-Raphaelite curator Sophie Lynford told patrons Tuesday night that Tate curators told their Delaware counterparts that the Tate show could not be mounted unless it could borrow the Delaware works.
“The Delaware Art Museum’s renowned Rossetti works of art are central to this exhibition,” said Molly Giordano, executive director of the Delaware Art Museum. “We are delighted to loan these works to Tate Britain, but are even more thrilled that we will be the only US venue. It’s a real coup for DelArt, and evidence of the international importance of our beloved Bancroft collection.”
Delaware Art Museum triumph
Being able to host the Tate show is a crowning moment for the Delaware Art Museum, which not so long ago had essentially been blackballed by the museum world for selling art works to clear debts.
Then prominent museums began doing the same thing a few years later, and suddenly the Delaware museum looked like a forward-thinking institution wisely making sure it was around to serve the Delaware community for another century.
DelArt officials expect the Tate show to generate a lot of excitement in the region and beyond.
Lynford said the museum is already getting inquiries from as far as California about when the Tate show will be in Delaware so they can make travel arrangements.
Complete details will be announced soon, a museum official said.
The Delaware museum’s Pre-Raphaelite collection is one of its three core collections. Said to be the largest collection of Pre-Raphaelite art outside of Britain, the museum’s collection started with works collected by Wilmington mill owner Samuel Bancroft and donated to the museum in 1935.
The Pre-Raphaelite artists were a group of artists and writers including Rossetti who disdained the Royal Academy’s focus on art in the holier-than-thou style of Renaissance painter Raphael. They took inspiration from the work of the medieval period — before Raphael — and focused on contemporary life.
The group was active from the mid- to late 1800s and their lives and work paralleled the Industrial Revolution and the rise of the Arts & Crafts movement.
The museum already has begun celebrating its Year of Pre-Raphaelites.
A recently opened exhibit, Forgotten Pre-Raphaelites, features more than 40 artworks from the museum’s collection that are rarely on view. The works are by overlooked artists who experimented with Pre-Raphaelite themes and techniques, including art by the American Pre-Raphaelites and work by women artists.
On Friday A Marriage of Arts & Crafts: Evelyn & William De Morgan, makes its American debut. It will run from Saturday, Oct. 22, through Feb. 19, 2023.
The show is the first retrospective exhibition of Arts and Crafts pottery maker William De Morgan (1839-1917) and Pre-Raphaelite painter Evelyn De Morgan (1855-1919).
A Victorian power couple, they moved in influential cultural circles, shared an interest in spiritualism, and engaged with social issues of their day.
Even so, both were unrecognized and uncelebrated until recently.
The show will include William’s brilliantly colored tiles, pots, and plates and Evelyn’s richly symbolic paintings.
DelArt will host a lecture on Friday, Oct. 21 at 5 p.m. by Sarah Hardy, Curator of the De Morgan Collection. Guided special exhibition tours are available weekly on Saturday afternoons.
Betsy Price is a Wilmington freelance writer who has 40 years of experience, including 15 at The News Journal in Delaware.
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