In 2016–2017 Season, Morse Museum Celebrates Its 75th Anniversary with Exhibitions and More
WINTER PARK, Fla.—The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art will open its 2016–2017 season with a major new exhibition commemorating the Museum’s 75th anniversary.
In Celebrating 75 Years—Pathways of American Art at the Morse, which opens October 18, the Museum will present a range of objects that illustrate the breadth and depth of the collection assembled by Hugh and Jeannette McKean over 50 years. The Morse, founded by Jeannette McKean (1909–89) and named for her industrialist grandfather, opened its doors on February 17, 1942, as the Morse Gallery of Art on the Rollins College campus. Hugh McKean (1908–95), a Rollins art professor and later president of the college, was the Museum’s visionary first director. The Museum relocated in 1977 to Welbourne Avenue and in 1995 to its current site on Park Avenue, where two subsequent expansions have increased exhibition space to almost 20,000 square feet, five times that of the Welbourne location.
The Museum’s unparalleled collection of works by Louis Comfort Tiffany and his firm, Tiffany Studios, is the most important component of the Morse’s holdings. But the Morse is not simply a Tiffany museum; it is a community museum with an underlying educational mission. This was the core of the McKeans’ vision for the Morse. The deep and profound commitment to this vision has informed the Museum’s growth and development for 75 years and continues as the bedrock of the institution today. Objects in the Museum’s new exhibition—from paintings to prints, art glass to art pottery—are being selected to show not only the varied nature of the collection but its philosophical underpinnings.
The Museum’s 2016–2017 schedule also includes free admission during the Museum’s 75th anniversary month of February; the debut of a new collection highlights cell phone audio tour; the introduction of Friday gallery talks; the 38th annual Christmas in the Park display of Tiffany windows; a new season of free Friday nights at the Morse; and open house events for Christmas Eve, the Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival, Easter weekend, and Independence Day.
2016–2017 EXHIBITION HIGHLIGHTS
Works by Louis Comfort Tiffany (1848–1933)—including his chapel from the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition and objects and architectural elements from his Long Island country estate, Laurelton Hall—are always on view. The following are descriptions of new and ongoing exhibitions in the 2016–2017 season:
Celebrating 75 Years—Pathways of American Art at the Morse
Opens October 18, 2016
Gallery talk, Fridays, 11a.m.
Approaching the Museum’s 75th anniversary, the Morse celebrates the breadth and depth of the collection assembled by Hugh and Jeannette McKean in this new exhibition. Jeannette (1909–89), granddaughter of Chicago industrialist and Winter Park philanthropist Charles Hosmer Morse, founded the Museum that opened its doors on February 17, 1942. Hugh (1908–95) was its visionary first director. Over five decades, the couple assembled a collection primarily but not exclusively of late 19th– and early 20th–century art. Though now renowned for works in all mediums by Louis Comfort Tiffany, the McKeans were less interested in “masterpieces” per se than in objects that illustrated important developments in American art. They democratically respected the creativity and unique beauty of all contributions. This exhibition will include objects the McKeans collected to show various paths and byways taken within American art. Objects on view, for example, will include not only Tiffany art glass made for the wealthy but elegant cast glass for the middle class and iridescent carnival glass that was pressed and sold for pennies to a mass audience. A highlight will be a replication of Hugh McKean’s “Art Machine,” an exhibit at the Morse, c. 1988–95, of Thomas Sully’s 1871 study of a young Queen Victoria with precise instructions on how to view and appreciate the work of art. The show will also include portraits, landscape paintings, works on paper, and pottery—all of which reflect the marvelous diversity of American art.
Art Nouveau from the Morse Collection
Opens February 14, 2017
A new installation of works that represent the bold international decorative arts style known as Art Nouveau (1890–1910). The exhibition, drawn from the Morse collection, will feature furniture, jewelry, ceramics, and art glass from artists and designers working in Europe and America.
The Bride Elect—Gifts from the 1905 Wedding of Elizabeth Owens Morse
Through September 24, 2017
In 1905 Elizabeth Owens Morse, the daughter of Charles Hosmer Morse and Martha Owens Morse, married Richard Millard Genius. The gift registry—entitled “The Bride Elect”—survives in the Morse Museum’s archive, showing more than 250 gifts. Together these items provide insight into gift giving at the time, especially the kinds of gifts that wealthy consumers deemed worthy of a prominent and artistic Chicago bride. In this exhibition, the Morse presents a representative group of the lovely gifts from the Morse-Genius wedding, including Tiffany art glass, Rookwood pottery, and Gorham silver.
Tiffany Art Glass from the Morse Collection
Tiffany Studios was arguably the most accomplished maker of art glass in the world in its day and undoubtedly one of the best of all time. In his art glass, introduced to the public in 1893, Louis Comfort Tiffany used sources that included antiquity, horticulture, rocks, and the flow of lava. Through exploitation of chemistry, mechanics, and logistics in production, he transformed his ideas into objects of astonishing variety, imagination, and beauty. In this newly opened installation (February 2016) from its permanent collection, the Morse presents examples of Tiffany art glass that richly illustrate the artist’s mastery of this medium.
Tiffany Lamps and Lighting from the Morse Collection
Although Louis Comfort Tiffany was an international success before his first lamp, it is his signature style of lighting that has extended the breadth and depth of his popularity across America and through time, from the 1890s to this day. The Museum’s refreshed Tiffany Lamps and Lighting gallery (October 2015) displays more than 30 objects. Highlights include a magnificent 28-inch hanging Dogwood design shade, after 1900, and a floor lamp, c. 1902, with a leaded-glass Bamboo design shade. The exhibit also has been expanded to include lighting examples by other decorative art firms, giving insight into Tiffany’s achievement at a time when widespread adoption of electricity was fueling innovations in the art of lighting.
Focus Exhibition: Tiffany Studios’ Daffodil Reading Lamp
Few of Tiffany Studios’ lamps with leaded-glass shades enjoyed the longevity and popularity of the beautiful Daffodil lamp. Louis Comfort Tiffany loved daffodils—a flower that heralds spring and is rich in symbolic meaning. Not only did he cultivate them and plant them prominently at his Long Island country estate, Laurelton Hall, he created his own versions in glass for windows, lamps, and column capitals. Through objects and explanatory wall panels, the Museum’s new focus exhibition (October 2015) presents an in-depth study of its Daffodil reading lamp, c. 1899–1905, from its inspiration and significance to its design and production.
Revival and Reform—Eclecticism in the 19th-Century Environment
Gallery talks, Wednesdays, 11 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.
The Arts window, c. 1894, by J. & R. Lamb Studios is the centerpiece of this exhibition that illustrates the rich diversity of styles that made up the visual environment of the late 19th century in both Europe and America. Lamb Studios, a prominent American glasshouse of the era, exhibited the neoclassical window widely. The installation, organized from objects in the Museum’s collection, features more than 20 leaded-glass windows and panels as well as selections of art glass, pottery, and furniture. Besides works by Lamb, windows on view—some avant-garde, others reviving styles of the past—include examples by Tiffany Studios, John LaFarge, Frank Lloyd Wright, Edward Burne-Jones, Donald MacDonald, and Heaton, Butler & Bayne.
Louis Comfort Tiffany’s Laurelton Hall
Curator Tours, Tuesdays and Thursdays, 11 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.
Cell phone audio tour available
Louis Comfort Tiffany’s grand country estate on Long Island, built between 1902 and 1905, was arguably the designer’s greatest work of art. The Museum’s permanent exhibition of art and architectural elements from Laurelton Hall includes the restored Daffodil Terrace and more than 200 objects from important rooms. The installation, which opened in 2011, features two dozen leaded-glass windows, as well as lamps, art glass, and furnishings in galleries that suggest their context in Tiffany’s original design for the mansion.
The celebrated chapel interior that Louis Comfort Tiffany created for exhibition at the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago established his reputation internationally and proved pivotal in his career. The Byzantine-Romanesque masterpiece, formerly installed on the grounds of the artist’s estate on Long Island, opened as an exhibit at the Morse in 1999. Its architectural elements include four leaded-glass windows, 16 glass-mosaic encrusted columns, and a 10-foot by eight-foot electrified chandelier.
2016–2017 PROGRAMS AND EVENTS
The following are free public events scheduled for the upcoming year, organized by season. All events are at the Museum unless otherwise noted:
2016 Holidays at the Morse
Holiday Friday Nights: Free admission from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Live music from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on six consecutive holiday Friday nights, November 25 through December 30. Programming will also include family tours, curator tours, and an art demonstration on selected dates.
Christmas in the Park: 6:15 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday, December 1, Central Park, downtown Winter Park. The Morse Museum and the City of Winter Park present the 38th annual exhibition of century-old Tiffany windows and a free outdoor concert of holiday favorites by the Bach Festival Society Choir, Youth Choir, and Brass Ensemble.
Christmas Eve Open House: Free admission from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, December 24. Live music from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
2017 Spring at the Morse
Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival Open House and Children’s Workshop: Free admission to the galleries March 17–19. Hours are 9:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday; 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday; and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. Free Morse Children’s Workshop in Central Park Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Spring Friday Nights: Free admission from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Live music from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on six consecutive spring Friday nights, March 24 through April 28. Programming will also include family tours, curator tours, and an art demonstration on selected dates.
Easter Weekend Open House: Free admission April 14–16. Hours are 9:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday; 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday; and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. Live music on Good Friday from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
2017 Summer at the Morse
Summer Family Tours and Films: June–August. These free family programs include gallery tours on select Tuesdays with a take-home art project and a film, art activity, and gallery tour on select Fridays. Reservations required.
Independence Day Open House: Free admission from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday, July 4. The Museum provides this open house in conjunction with the City of Winter Park’s Olde Fashioned 4th of July celebration in Central Park.
The Morse Museum is open 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., Sunday. From November through April, the galleries are open until 8 p.m. on Fridays. Admission is $6 for adults, $5 for seniors, $1 for students, free for children under 12, and from November through April, free for all visitors after 4 p.m. on Fridays. For more information about the Morse, please visit www.morsemuseum.org.