IU Eskenazi Museum of Art Announces Partnership with Speed Art Museum

Boats on the Elbe in Dresden by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner
Image: Ernst Ludwig Kirchner (German, 1880-1938). Boats on the Elbe in Dresden (Boote auf der Elbe bei Dresden), 1910 (reworked ca. 1920). Oil on canvas, 24 3/8 x 34 3/4 in. Jane and Roger Wolcott Memorial, Gift of Thomas T. Solley, Eskenazi Museum of Art, Indiana University, 75.34

The Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art at Indiana University is excited to announce a new five-year partnership with the Speed Art Museum in Louisville, KY.

While the Eskenazi Museum of Art is closed for renovations, a selection of works from its renowned collection will be on view at the Speed Art Museum during the second half of 2018. Drawn exclusively from the Eskenazi Museum of Art’s collection, the exhibition Picasso to Pollock: Modern Masterworks from the Eskenazi Museum of Art, Indiana University will be on view from June 16, 2018 through January 13, 2019. The show will feature more than seventy paintings, sculptures, and works on paper, including highlights by Pablo Picasso, Diego Rivera, Henry Moore, and Jackson Pollock. A second exhibition American Storybook: The Imaginary Travelogue of Thomas Chambers will also be on loan from the Eskenazi Museum of Art. In addition, the Speed will be integrating key masterworks from the Eskenazi’s collection into the permanent collection galleries during the latter half of 2018.

IU students, faculty, and staff will receive free admission to the Speed Art Museum with their university photo ID while the exhibitions are on view.

”This partnership is remarkable for several reasons. One is the opportunity to share real masterpieces from one of the country’s great museum collections with a broader audience in Louisville and our region. It is also far longer than most three-month loan agreements, and gives us five years to organize many exhibitions from the Eskenazi while it is closed for renovation (and after), and then gives IU time to share works from the Speed’s collection with students and the people of Bloomington,” said Stephen Reily, Director of the Speed Art Museum. ”Museums in the same region sometimes consider each other competitors, when they should be friends; I am proud to model a new kind of regional partnership between museums.”

The Eskenazi Museum of Art’s encyclopedic collection—notable for both breadth and quality—places it alongside the Speed Art Museum as being among the best art museums in the region. “Although the Eskenazi’s holdings of modern art include major works by many of the twentieth century’s most significant artists, the collection is not widely known among the general public,” said David Brenneman, Wilma E. Kelley Director of the IU Eskenazi Museum of Art.

“The exhibition at the Speed will introduce new audiences in the region to the Eskenazi Museum of Art and its remarkable modern holdings,” added Brenneman. “It also enables us to continue serving Indiana University students and faculty, particularly those affiliated with the IU-Southeast campus in New Albany, during our closure.”

Picasso to Pollock marks the inauguration of a five-year partnership that was recently established between the Eskenazi Museum of Art and the Speed. The partnership—spearheaded by Jenny McComas, the Eskenazi Museum’s Curator of European and American Art, and Erika Holmquist-Wall, the Speed’s Chief Curator and Mary and Barry Bingham, Sr. Curator of European and American Paintings and Sculpture—will facilitate a variety of exhibition exchanges and loans between the two institutions in the coming years.

“When I first proposed an exchange with the Speed during our closure, I did not expect the project to develop into a long-term, multi-exhibition partnership," said McComas. "I am thrilled that we have reached an agreement that will benefit both museums.”

Eskenazi Museum of Art staff tour the Speed Art Museum
Image: Staff from the Eskenazi Museum of Art tour the Speed Art Museum

“Later this summer, we’re opening American Storybook: The Imaginary Travelogue of Thomas Chambers, focusing on a unique figure in the history of American landscape painting,” said Holmquist-Wall. “The Eskenazi has sizable and significant holdings of Chambers’ work, which presents a remarkable opportunity to share these paintings with a new audience.” American Storybook will run from July 21, 2018 through January 6, 2019. In addition, the Speed will be integrating key masterworks from the Eskenazi’s collection into the permanent collection galleries.

“Following the Eskenazi’s reopening, loans and exhibitions borrowed from the Speed Art Museum will enhance our programming and augment our permanent collection installations,” said Brenneman.

“The partnership benefits both museums, not only by raising the profile of both the Speed and the Eskenazi in the region but also by facilitating our respective audiences’ access to new works of art at a fraction of the cost normally associated with major loans or traveling exhibitions,” added Reily.

About the Speed Art Museum

The Speed Art Museum is Kentucky’s largest art museum. An independent and encyclopedic museum located on the campus of the University of Louisville, the Speed celebrated its 90th anniversary in 2017. Louisville philanthropist Hattie Bishop Speed founded the Speed Art Museum, which opened in 1927, with a belief in the power of art to change people’s lives.

The Speed reopened in 2016 following a 3-year, $60 million renovation and expansion designed by Kulapat Yantrasast of wHY that doubled the museum’s overall square footage and nearly tripled its gallery space. Free Owsley Sundays, sponsored by the Brown-Forman Corporation, draw large and diverse crowds every week. For more information, visit www.speedmuseum.org.

About the Eskenazi Museum of Art, Indiana University

Since its establishment in 1941, the Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art has grown from a small university teaching collection into one of the foremost university art museums in the country. Today, the Eskenazi Museum of Art’s internationally acclaimed collection, ranging from ancient gold jewelry and African masks to paintings by Claude Monet and Pablo Picasso includes more than 45,000 objects representing nearly every art-producing culture throughout history.