BANGOR — Art quiz: Which Maine museum is showing prints by Francisco Goya, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Marc Chagall, Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso and Willem De Kooning?
Or how about Andy Warhol, Robert Motherwell, Romare Bearden and Roy Lichtenstein?
And among artists with Maine connections: Winslow Homer, Ricard Estes, Neil Welliver, Alex Katz and John Marin?
There’s less than a month remaining in the blockbuster print exhibition at the University of Maine Museum of Art in Bangor, “From Piranesi to Picasso: Master Prints from the Permanent Collection.”
Curated by museum director George Kinghorn, the exhibition culls 60 master prints from the permanent collection. It is the first of three exhibitions in 2014 that will feature works from the collection.
“We really do have a remarkable permanent collection, and it’s nice to bring these works out to give people the opportunity to see things they have not been able to see in quite awhile,” Kinghorn said.
The next two shows from the collection will focus on newer acquisitions, and will include paintings and sculptural pieces. The current exhibition highlights the collection’s strength in prints.
While the collection itself began in 1946, the works on view date from the 18th century to the late 20th century. As the title of the show suggests, the art goes from Giovanni Piranesi’s etchings of Rome in the mid-1700s to works by Picasso, including his colorful linocut “Jacqueline in a Straw Hat,” which he made in 1962.
A variety of printmaking processes are represented, including silkscreens, woodcuts, lithographs, drypoint and engraving.
The exhibition also serves as a reminder that museum collections are built on the generosity of donors, Kinghorn noted. While the museum purchased some works in this show, most came as gifts.
Robert Venn Carr Jr., a university graduate in 1938, gave 300 pieces of art to museum, and that gift is represented here in both Piranesi and Picasso, as well as many others. The Wing Sisters, Adeline and Carolyn, gave the museum the Homer etching “Eight Bells,” which the artist made in 1887. Several Marin prints, from the early 1900s up through the 1930s, came as a gift from his granddaughter, Lisa Marie Marin, who lives in Maine.
In all, the University of Maine Museum of Art collection numbers just fewer than 4,000 pieces, and was built on the strength of UMaine art professor Vincent Hartgen, who was an avid collector and passionate educator, as well as the museum’s longtime director.
Kinghorn hopes people from Maine take the time to see the prints. Many are considered to be exceptional examples of printmaking by masters, and collectively they document the story of the museum’s growth and strength.
“It gives people a glimpse into how these works came into our possession. In many instances, we have the same images that are also in the collections of major museums like the Museum of Modern Art and the Met,” he said. “People wonder how we have these pieces, and it’s because of collectors who decided to make a generous gift to a public institution so that people can enjoy them.”
Staff Writer Bob Keyes can be contacted at 791-6457 or: