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Professor Judith Oliver curates Picker Art Gallery’s first digital exhibition

By Tim O'Keeffe on April 25, 2013
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Isaac van Ostade (Dutch, 1621-1649), “Peasants at a Doorway [Country Inn].”

The Picker Art Gallery recently launched Selected Old Masters From The Picker Art Gallery, its first curated digital exhibition. The project, led by Art and Art History Professor Judith Oliver, features recent acquisitions of Old Master paintings donated to the university by Renate and Donald Schaefer ’46.

The newly acquired paintings are from the Max Oberlander collection, and include works by Pieter Brueghel the Younger, Brouwer, Ryckaert, and van Ostade.

The exhibition, which also draws on the Picker’s permanent collection of works from the 15th to 17th centuries, seeks to place the new acquisitions in the broader context of how we understand art by the Old Masters, according to Oliver.

The exhibition is the culmination of her extensive research on objects in the Picker’s collection that were produced before 1800.

“As a result of this research, and this show, we now have a greatly expanded understanding of a diverse and rich resource that can be shared with future generations of Colgate students,” said Mary Ann Calo, Batza Professor of art and art history.

Calo said the exhibition was put together this year while the museum was closed for an inventory and assessment project. “This marks the beginning of us re-asserting the museum’s active presence in the community.”

Oliver, whose research focuses on medieval and Northern Renaissance art, has been a guest curator for the Picker in the past, organizing two shows of material borrowed from other institutions: photographs of Gothic cathedral structure (Robert Mark’s Gothic Structure: A Technological Reinterpretation) in 1985 and medieval manuscript leaves (Pages from the Medieval Past) in 1987.

Students enrolled in Oliver’s seminars and course on museum studies also have curated shows for the gallery resulting from their original research on little known works in the collection: the Plaster Doors of Pisa in spring 2006 and What Museums Collect: From the Cabinet of Curiosities to Modern Curatorial Challenges in May 2012.

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