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Stuart P. Feld. American Paintings and Historical Prints from the Middendorf Collection. — New York, 1967

American Paintings and Historical Prints from the Middendorf Collection / Stuart P. Feld. — New York : The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1967  American Paintings and Historical Prints from the Middendorf Collection / Stuart P. Feld. — New York : The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1967
 
 

American Paintings and Historical Prints from the Middendorf Collection / Stuart P. Feld. — New York : The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1967. —111 p., ill.

 
 
Stuart P. Feld is Associate Curator in Charge, Department of American Paintings and Sculpture, The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
 

 

The Baltimore Museum of Art and The Metropolitan Museum of Art are pleased to join in presenting an exhibition of the distinguished collection of American paintings and historical prints formed by Mr. and Mrs. J. William Middendorf, II. It is appropriate that the two museums should share the exhibition, for although Mr. Middendorf is now an active figure in the New York community, he has remained in close contact with his native Baltimore, where much of his family still resides. It is often inconvenient for museums to lend individual works of art from their vast collections; to ask private collectors to deprive themselves of eighty-three of their finest pictures for a period of nearly six months is to ask them to make a very difficult sacrifice. Mr. and Mrs. Middendorf, Mr. J. William Middendorf, Jr., and Mr. Harry S. Middendorf, Sr., have responded with the utmost generosity to our request to show their pictures and publish this catalogue, and the Trustees and Curators of both institutions join us in expressing our deepest gratitude.
 
THOMAS P. F. HOVING, Director
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
 
CHARLES PARKHURST, Director
The Baltimore Museum of Art
 
May is, 1967
 

 

Foreword

 
With the exception of two family portraits by Charles Willson Peale and Alfred Jacob Miller, all of the pictures included in this exhibition are owned by Mr. and Mrs. J. William Middendorf, II. Selected from more than two hundred works, they range from the first mezzotint engraved in the Colonies to a powerful figure piece done in 1926 by the Provincetown painter Charles W. Hawthorne. The collection formed by Isabelle and Bill Middendorf is not a panoramic survey of American art of this period, but rather is a collection of collections, reflecting their changing tastes and interests over as short a period as a dozen years. The Middendorfs’ first acquisitions were American historical prints, a field that was wildly competitive a half-century ago, but one that has been less actively pursued in recent years because of the extreme rarity of the material. Soon they began to add portraits of important historical figures by such artists as Gilbert Stuart, John Trumbull, James Sharpies, and William R. Birch, and gradually their interest in painting expanded to include representative works by some of the leading landscape, genre, and still-life painters of the nineteenth century. On the lookout for such “textbook” masterpieces as Frederic Church’s Rainy Season in the Tropics, Emanuel Leutze’s Washington Crossing the Delaware, Seth Eastman’s Chippewa Indians Playing Checkers, and John Haberle’s A Bachelor’s Drawer, they have also sought outstanding works by such little-known artists as Ferdinand Richardt, Jefferson David Chalfant, Andrew Melrose, and Alexander Pope. “We have attempted to collect American paintings and prints” Mr. Middendorf wrote recently, “in such a way as to show both the American experience and our nation’s artistic accomplishments.” The group of pictures gathered here is a testimony to their success, for in the breathtaking water-colors of Thomas Moran and John LaFarge, the delicate portrait miniatures of John Ramage, Charles Willson Peale, and James Peale, the homespun genre scenes of Eastman Johnson and William Sidney Mount, and the spirited engravings of Amos Doolittle, Paul Revere, and Bernard Romans, to name but a few, the American experience and our diverse artistic achievements are vividly presented.
 
Throughout the selection of this exhibition and the preparation of the catalogue Mr. Middendorf has generously placed at our disposal his home, his office, his archives, his vast store of information about American artists, and his keen artistic sense. Without his help and understanding this exhibition and catalogue would not have been possible. Both are also the result of the efforts of a number of others who have worked in splendid unison. The section on American Historical Prints is largely the work of Wendy Shadwell of Mr. Middendorf’s staff, who in the process of her painstaking research uncovered a number of facts that are published here for the first time. Especially noteworthy is her discovery of what appears to be the first state of Henry Dawkins’s view of Pennsylvania Hospital, the detection of further differences between the two states of Paul Revere’s Boston Massacre, and the identification of what seems to be an unrecorded state of Revere’s Landing of the Troops, Boston. We are also deeply indebted to Mrs. Harold Bowditch, Mrs. J. D. Chalfant, William V. Elder, John Fleming, Jane des Grange, James Harithas, Arlene Jacobo-witz, Antoinette Kraushaar, Thomas Maytham, Margaret Sloane Patterson, Gertrude Rosenthal, Raymond L. Stehle, Harold R. Talbot, and John Wilmerding, and the dozen or more dealers who have owned the pictures, all of whom have given generously of their time and knowledge. We have also imposed many times on the very capable staffs of the Frick Art Reference Library, The New-York Historical Society, The New York Public Library, and The Society Library, and are deeply grateful to them. Lastly, I wish to thank our own staff, Albert TenEyck Gardner, James Pilgrim, and John Howat, for their assistance in preparing the manuscript, and Ellen Grand and Suzanne Nelson for their help in bringing this catalogue to completion so expeditiously.
 
STUART P. FELD
Associate Curator in Charge
Department of American Paintings and Sculpture
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
 

 

Sample pages

 
American Paintings and Historical Prints from the Middendorf Collection / Stuart P. Feld. — New York : The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1967  American Paintings and Historical Prints from the Middendorf Collection / Stuart P. Feld. — New York : The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1967
 
American Paintings and Historical Prints from the Middendorf Collection / Stuart P. Feld. — New York : The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1967
 

 

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